Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachery

May 16, 2010 - - 9:12 AM

I have highly enjoyed this book. Let me tell you why:

  • The author has a way of explaining the complex subject of creativity so that you can understand it in detail and relate it to your own process of creating.
  • The content was very rich in information and gave me many insights. The exercises help you to actually transfer these insights into your life.
  • The design elements on the pages might not appeal to everyone’s taste, but they are done with a lot attention to detail and do not conflict with the presented works.

What could be improved:

  • The photographs of the artists’ projects could have been better with some images. However, the scans are excellent.

For these reasons my overall rating is 4 out of 5 points.

The book communicated one very important message that I wanted to share:
It is not enough to dream something into being, you actually have to work on it to make it real.

“If every idea that popped into someone’s head was realized, we’d be constantly bombarded with wild leaps in fashion, amazing music unlike anything we’d ever heard, and other things so different from anything we’d seen or tasted or heard or touched that our mouths would drop in wonder. It’s not like that, though, because most ideas never come to fruition. They’re there, in someone’s head, and then they’re gone. Sometimes they get as far as being written down or sketched on a bar napkin, and sometimes someone will tell his best friend about this terrific idea he just had. But mostly, it’s just an idea, a little spark that isn’t fanned into life. And therein lies the fundamental difference between those who have ideas (and that’s everyone) and those who are creative: the act of bringing the idea to life.”
(page 21)

Alterknits by Leigh Radford

February 17, 2010 - - 3:06 PM

There were several aspects I really liked about the book:

  • The photography by John Rizzo is beautiful and features some fresh ideas. I enjoyed how he tried to make them look spontaneous and natural.
  • A few of the quotes and exercises in the context of knitting made me think, although you cannot escape the feeling that you have read most of them somewhere before, e.g. “What would you attempt to do, if you were guaranteed not fail?”.
  • There are some projects I would like to try myself. After all, that is the main reason you buy a knitting book, besides being inspired, learning new techniques and patterns or drooling over the images of luscious yarns.

My main concern with this publication is:

  • If you have ever made a rag rug, knitted with wire or used up your old sweaters for a bag or blanket, then the projects will not be that mind-altering for your knitting. Therefore, if you judge the book after its goal “to inspire you to expect the unexpected”, then in my opinion it does not deliver.

For this reason my overall rating is 3 out of 5 points.

Knit Green by Joanne Seiff

January 12, 2010 - - 9:05 PM

Firstly I would like to mention the positive aspects about this book:

  • It does not preach. Every step to environmentally conscious living counts and you simply take it as far as you are willing to go. Although I believe that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, taking one step at a time to not get overwhelmed is definitely something I can agree with.
  • There are many useful projects in this book that enable you to integrate knitting projects easily into your everyday life. Cushions, placemats and curtains are things that I can put to good use in my household.

Now on to the things that impressed me only slightly:

  • If you have already read about the diversity of yarn, e.g. in “No Sheep for You“, you know that there is hemp, soy and bamboo fiber out there and you have probably already bought organic cotton or another sustainable fiber. There simply was not much new information here for me.
  • Over the past years I have tried to buy animal-free products as well as shop organic and fair trade. Therefore there was not much in this book that inspired me beyond what I am already living.

If you have not read about these topics before and if you like some simple and practical knits, then you might enjoy this book. If on the other hand you have already given these issues some thought then you might look for another read.

As an overall rating I give it 3 points out of 5.