Inspiration, Part 2: Books

I love books. Well, duh. You want to know a secret? I suspect I’m not the only person who got degrees in English at least in part because it seemed like a really good way to spend a lot more time reading and hanging out in libraries. You think English people have some lofty goals for getting the degrees they do, but it’s really just an excuse to collect more books.

Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway–I have a few books–as you’ll see–and they’re one of the places I go when I need some new ideas. Because I’ve always had a horrid memory, ideas *always* seem new: even something I looked at just a couple months ago can seem brand-spanking-new, as in, “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

The key to using books for inspiration, at least for me, lies not in collecting books full of the kinds of things I like to make, but in collecting books that are full of other kinds of things, things that appear to have little relationship with what I make (altered artwear, art quilts, wall hangings). Sure, I have some books that are about those things–by now you’ve heard of my passion for Native Funk and Flash, by Alexandra Jacopetti Hart:

But I also love books that have nothing to do with clothes or fabric. In this video, I show some of both, giving you a peak into what’s on my bookshelves.

So think about what kinds of things get your brain working. Maybe you do collage, but you find inspiration in looking at rocks. Or trees. Maybe you make quilts but are inspired by photographs of constellations or herds of moose. Building a personal library is about what works for you, which is sometimes surprising. It’s good to know what kinds of books do it for you: if you make jewelry but really don’t want any more jewelry-related books for all the major gift-giving holidays and are, instead, building a library of books about architecture, it’s a good thing to let your friends and family know that right up front.

What’s on your shelves? We’d love to know!


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3 Responses to Inspiration, Part 2: Books

  1. books, books, books, i could never live without…..i have all kinds of books….i have art books, quilting books…books just with pictures…i have quite an eclectic book collection…i like to look at photo’s . i don’t have a lot of books that i read, but i have lots that i just look through, time and time again. one of the saddnest things that happened to me this year was i had a pipe burst in my old home and it ruined 3 bookcases of my books……i have one book case that is all alice in wonderland books and some oz books thrown in…..books are like old friends, they keep coming back…

  2. Seth says:

    You make a great point that I often forget Rice — sometimes inspiration for what we do can be found in books that are about things that we do not do. I guess this means an even bigger list of books to get.

    • Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

      But it’s impossible to have too many books, right? At least that’s what I hope.