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LoveReading’s Creativity section is perfect for those who want to make things with their own hands. Whether you’d like to learn the latest craft technique, see what others are doing as design inspiration and trying to keep up and have a go at the latest technological developments, have a look at the selection of titles we have below.
I must confess that I exclaimed with delight when I saw All Good Things for the first time. It is fabulously described as “a treasury of images to uplift the spirits and reawaken wonder”. The size is perfect, the cover divinely enticing, and it just beckoned me in. I simply sank into the pages of the most beautiful images of art from around the world and through time. You may already have heard of, or indeed follow Stephen Ellcock on social media. Over the last ten years he has shared his images with the world. And we have taken them to our heart. Here he “explores our world and the human response to it one realm at a time”, and so we visit various realms from ‘The Face of the Water’, through to ‘The Human Realm’ and ‘Gods and Monsters’. The images and their explanations sit patiently, just waiting for you to turn the page. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it is gorgeous. September Publishing has created a little masterpiece, and it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and one of my picks of the month. All Good Things is a treasure of a treasury and would make the most perfect gift (but make sure you keep a copy for yourself!).
By turns gripping, meditative and elemental, and always inspirational, this treasure trove of prose, poetry and art lays bare a richness of relationships between female adventurers and the great outdoors. Shunning conventional, simplistic narratives about mankind conquering the highest this, or the deepest that, each adventurer-contributor shares their unique experiences with enlightening, engaging subtlety. In the wise words of one writer, “People go outdoors to push themselves past what they thought they could do…I go outdoors for the struggle, not to beat it.” This eloquent anthology contains over seventy pieces of writing and art, among them an enlightening piece about the motivations of an Antarctic researcher, an intimate account of a mountaineer’s connection with her father through cross-country skiing, and an exquisite evocation of the sensuous life-forces of a Dartmoor brook. It’s a delight to dip into, and the perfect gift for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers.
This consummately fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging. The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.” I found the “Which Came First?” chapter especially compelling. The author’s exploration of humankind’s transition to bipedalism and language takes in fascinating linguistic and archaeological theories, and links the shift to bipedalism to the development of reflective thought, and to walking as an expressive activity. Suffused in spirited intellectualism and a global perspective, this is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, dance and exploring the history of humanity through the lens of the arts.
Written by Mabel Haynes’s granddaughter following the fortuitous discovery of her grandmother’s connection to Stein, this is an innovative, intimate and complex exploration of an intimate, complex relationship between three women. While this book doesn’t follow a chronological form, its subject could be said to begin with Gertrude Stein’s first novel, Q.E.D., which was never published during her lifetime. Q.E.D. represents Stein’s attempt to deal with her first love affair with May Bookstaver, who was also the friend and lover of Mabel Haynes. All three were students at the same Boston medical school: “they came of age in the gilded age and were of a class that expected them to display themselves with the right cut of their garments, the right sort of bearing to carry it off.” While the impact and influence of these women on Stein’s writing has been examined, this is the first time the lives of the women themselves have been fully explored. Generously peppered with photographs, and drawing on multiple source types (private letters, Stein’s writing), this paints broad cultural brushstrokes alongside the deeply personal portraiture, and is a ground-breaking feat of biographical writing.
Featuring over fifty stylishly rendered boards, this is an interactive doodle book with a difference, and certainly takes the lingering trend for adult colouring-in books to the next level. Most of the book comprises unfinished boards for users to transform into their own tabletop games – twenty designs in all, followed by twenty-five sets of rules for players to choose to follow, each of which encourages creativity with suggestions for fashioning your own versions of classic board games. There’s also plenty of options for users to invent their own entirely new games, with a superb “Stuck for Ideas?” section that suggests fun themes and mash-ups, among them “Throne of Crowns” and “Uninvited Ghost”. There are suggestions specially devised for younger players too (for example “The Magical Maze” and “Lost Pets”) making this a compendium of creativity for allages. Taking an average of half an hour to create each game and a further half an hour to play, this provides a plethora of opportunities to exercise one’s cerebral muscles while having a whole lot of fun.
Are YOU the ultimate map-reader? Do you know your trig points from your National Trails? Can you calculate using contours? And can you fathom exactly how far the footpath is from the free house? Track down hidden treasures, decipher geographical details and discover amazing facts as you work through this unique puzzle book based on 40 of the Ordnance Survey's best British maps. Explore the first ever OS map made in 1801, unearth the history of curious place names, encounter abandoned Medieval villages and search the site of the first tarmac road in the world. With hundreds of puzzles ranging from easy to mind-boggling, this mix of navigational tests, word games, code-crackers, anagrams and mathematical conundrums will put your friends and family through their paces on the path to becoming the ultimate map-master!
A book to fall in love with, to pick up and browse through again and again. I couldn’t put it down, I kept telling myself that I would read just one more page. So, let me introduce you to this treasure, take a look at the cover, at the stack of beautifully illustrated books, isn’t it stunning? Inside an Aladdin’s Cave awaits, glimpses of bookshops, literary facts, and recommendations galore. I’ve picked out a huge number of books to add to my TBR (to be read) pile and waved hello to a good many old friends. The illustrations by Jane Mount are truly delightful, they pop with colour and encouraged me to sink further into the pages. American bookstores and bookish people recommendations do feature heavily, however this really is beautifully world wide inclusive book, at the end of the day books are books are books! ‘Bibliophile’ is the most wonderful pick up and lose yourself in gem, it is absolutely crammed full of book love and would make the perfect present for bookish friends (or even of course yourself!).
It’s not always easy to be creative—to give our minds space to roam while ignoring our inner critic, to stare down a blank page and make the leap from nothing to anything. It takes courage. Finding the courage to create is something the editors of Flowknow a lot about. Creativity is a central value of the Flow mission, evident in every issue that bursts with the wild imaginations of its artists, writers, and editors. In Creativity Takes Courage, Flowbrings together inspiration, hands-on projects, boundary-pushing activities, and special paper goodies to show readers how to unleash their inner artists. Organized around a series of twelve “dares”—including Dare to Fail, Dare to Be a Kid, Dare to Be Bored, Dare to Go Offline, Dare to Collaborate—Creativity Takes Courage encourages the reader to be fully present . . . and spend idle time staring out the window. To leave your comfort zone and start a project, without hesitation . . . and nourish yourself with museum visits and reading time. Each dare includes fill-in pages and prompts to go deeper into what motivates us or hinders us, like mindful questions to identify fears of failure, or a Dare to Commit notebook for recording both daily and weekly projects. It’s the illustrated and fully interactive gift of how to live more creatively and enjoy every minute of the process, no matter what the result.
A picture book of the very best kind, the captions explain the gorgeous photographs, and leave you thirsting for more. Abandoned civilisations surround us, give warning, elicit admiration, provoke questions. Kieron Connolly, choosing the most stunning photos, explores civilisations, explains the reasons for abandonment, and has left me wanting to know more. This is a large book, one that would be at home on a coffee table, or waiting on a shelf. It is a book that you can dip into, or immerse yourself in, turning the pages with wonder. Some of the locations are well known, though the image viewpoint may not be. I also found myself exploring the unknown, and have added to the places on my must visit list. ‘Abandoned Civilisations’ is rather lovely, you can either marvel and applaud the beauty, or take a step further and start to explore.
The BBC Proms is the world's biggest and longest -running classical music festival and one of the jewels in the crown for the BBC. It is one of the strongest brand names in the music world and attracts a glittering array of artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 150 concerts, talks, workshops and family events around London every summer. Whether you're a first- time visitor or an experienced Prommer, watching at home or listening on radio or online, the BBC Proms Guide will help you to plan your summer of music and discover in depth what lies behind the Proms - from the composers to the performers to how the events are broadcast. The Proms Guide contains brand- new articles on featured composers and insights on performers, new music and accompanying events.
A title that doesn’t lie, these are really good dog photos. Containing the work of some of the best animal photographers there are naturally many different approaches to photographing dogs, many of the pictures have the “aaah” factor, many show the beauty, the fun, the work of dogs and there are some here to tug the heart-strings – particularly the portraits of dogs marooned in rescue centres. An excellent introduction to the subject featuring photographers such as Elliott Erwitt and William Wegman. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman
The perfect companion for any potter, or lover of pottery out there. As a novice potter myself, and fan of the TV series The Great Pottery Throw Down, I plucked, well actually I snatched, this book up as soon as it appeared on my desk. The outside subtly beckons you in, then dynamic vivid pictures and illustrations encourage your eyes to absorb the beauty as you read the accompanying text. You can either settle yourself down for a good read, or dip in and out, picking up slices of pottery history from as far back as 25,000BC, or discover how to throw off the hump, or learn more about some of your favourite artists. Liz Wilhide and Susie Hodge have created a beautifully balanced book, from beginner, to novice, to expert, there is something in here to appeal to all. I admire potters, their patience, skill, commitment, and energy… pottery can be a risky business, at any stage of the process it could go disastrously wrong, or it could become something to love, to treasure. ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ celebrates the unpredictability, the history, the usefulness, and the tactile and visual beauty of pottery. ~ Liz Robinson
A great book for crafters who want to take things on from dressmaking, upholstery and other fabric crafts – why not print the fabric as well? There are 25 projects here that go from simple potato prints on wrapping paper to creating your own design of bed linen and dress fabric. Starting with the potato prints, Jay Jolliffe moves on to block printing, stencils and screenprinting with clear instructions on how to apply this new-found craft. Lovely designs with templates included but plenty of ideas too for coming up with your own fabric prints. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like Reading:How to Print Fabric: Kitchen-table Techniques for over 20 Hand-Printed Home Accessories, Zeen ShahPrinting by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens, Lena Corwin
Crochet is often the poor cousin of knitting for innovation and design so full marks to Kerry Lord for her totally original designs. Author of the delightful Edward's Menagerie, a range of soft toy animals, her new book features … Monsters. With the split page format giving endless permutations of pointy ears and toes, alarming spots and stripes and even lumps and bumps, there will be no limit on the monsters you can make. For the more nervous child there are many designs that bear more than a passing resemblance to bunnies and teddies but for the more adventurous you can go the whole hog with a one-eyed, web-footed and fork-tailed monstosity. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Mini Knitted Safari, Sachiyo Ishii Edward's Menagerie: Over 40 Soft & Snuggly Toy Animal Crochet Patterns, Kerry Lord
What you can do with a pencil – and it's not all drawing! There's pencil games, Hangman, there's learning how to twizzle a Pencil round your thumb and there are emergency pencil uses. The instructions, in a cartoon type format, are intersperced with pencil related information in a fun and jokey way with added quotes from famous pencil weilders like Picasso and da Vinci. Very doable for even the most ham-fisted, Guy Field reveals all the tips and tricks you'll need to produce basic drawings, cartoons, lettering and even creating your own superhero, Pencilman! ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards You Can Draw in 30 Days, Mark Kistler
Our mass produced globalised world does give us all access to things from around the world but they do lack any personality and individuality so it's not surprising there is currently a real upsurge in making and creating beautiful and interesting things yourself.
As William Morris once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'
Here is a lovingly chosen selection of books to get you creating some beauty for your home. Whether you would like to knit, sew, sketch or print, you can hopefully find a book here that will spark your imagination.