At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
The Nature Of Creativity written by Jane E Hall is a timely book for our age, focusing on how our connection with nature can inspire us and evoke creativity from within. She discusses how a number of things connect together, such as mindfulness and the power of nature to make us feel positive coupled with a desire to create art and craft. You will learn how to nurture creativity to become an artist, using inspiration starting on your own doorstep.
About The Author
The main author Jane E. Hall is a well known fine artist and embroiderer who has had work published previously in many magazines and has written other similar books such as The Art Of Embroidered Butterflies. The writer of the forward to this book Brigit Strawbridge Howard is a wildlife writer, as well as a gardener and bee campaigner. She published a book in 2019 on bees which won the Wainwright Prize in the UK for Nature Writing.
Who Is The Book Aimed At?
Those who have an interest in using nature and wildlife to inform their ongoing creative practice. Also those who have an interest in mindfulness and its connection to creativity.
This isn’t simply a textile art book, I see It as more of a all rounder, bringing in collage, life, yes embroidery, but also fine art too in the form of even botanical detailed style painting. For a textile artist, this makes it more appealing as the book trains us to use our own favoured areas of nature to inspire our art work. Lets explore certain highlights within this book. As we are a textile art focused website, I will weight my review on the chapters of this book which are more on embroidery than collage or painting.
The first part of the book focuses on the creative space we have on offer. On first thoughts I judged this to mean the studio or room we have set aside to create in within our home. On reading, I realise that it means so much more to Jane Hall and can to us too; it can take in the creative environment we have at our perusal, such as the walks and natural habitats near by where we live. This of course will differ depending on where we live, urban or rural.
I liked how Jane considers her studio space as exactly what she needs for her explorations, ‘I don’t need much, just a little space to call my own‘. This is so true, we don’t all need or require a large airy classic art studio in order to produce wonderful art, we just need to be able to use our space, however small in a clever and thoughtful way. Comments and information like this really do help our minds to focus on what is important and they nurture us to plan our own spaces and to think in an open minded manner.
On pages 16 and 17, we explore Jane’s studio, I am rather jealous myself. Yes as an artist I have a room in my own house, however I love spying in on other artists studios and having a nose to see how they are presented. The photos Jane visually confesses to us are very vocal in themselves, from mood boards and collages to insights into the tools she uses, it is all there as a part of our “eye-feast”.
We will all have some form of outdoor space near our home, Jane explains hers and suggests how we can best use our own, which serves as good practical advice.
Now I have explored the first part of this book, I will highlight the embroidery based area of the more practical making section. I felt that the images for all the projects were of such a sublime quality. Lots of visual connections to make, between thread and finished piece.
The book has many projects spread over two pages. The background colour of the page the project rests on has been thoughtfully chosen by Jane, for example this blue butterfly sampler has related blue pages. To me, it really feels that this book has been allowed time to create, both format wise and project wise so that they merge and marry together.
There are many beautiful projects within this book, this is a snapshot of the textile embroidery based ones on offer, however there are plenty more on a wealth of arty subjects, for example the ‘Nature’s writing set’ which explores the types of natural inks on offer via various berries and barks in our woodland areas. As an artist in any field, you will find that the inspiration Jane proffers no matter the art category will inspire you within your own practice.
What Is A Highlight In This Book?
As we are focusing on the textile art side of this book when writing our review, the content from page 114 is of the most interest as it is more needlework focused.
I also loved the titles Jane uses surrounding her text, she could have simply titled this section below as something along the lines of what we will find in nature to inspire our art. Instead ‘Nature’s haberdashery’ sparks so much more interest.
Finally, the images are really beautiful and seem to be designed to tell their own story without much text back up required.
The Nature Of Creativity – A Mindful Approach to Making Art & Craft, published by Merrell’ is a book designed to lift our moods and motivate us to turn to the free sources of nature which we all have on offer around us. With so many inspirational photographs rather than a lot of those showing the finished projects Jane and in turn we ourselves may make, this is a book designed to slow us down and remind us that it is not the finished result which holds the importance, it is the journey taken to get there and how it may help us mentally along the way.
With ten creative ideas to explore, from collage, birds nests to fairies, what will we hone in on? Connect with your nature and let it help you choose.
Purchase your own copy of The Nature Of Creativity – A Mindful Approach to Making Art & Craft through this link!
Care to view more nature inspired work? Check out our recent review of Paint With Thread which delves into the Birds and the Bees!