Did you finish all the books on your summer reading list? For craft business owners, the fall can be a great season of reflection and growth. Why not explore some new titles that offer guidance for your creative small business, and insights into the larger craft industry? Today I’ve rounded up six new books that offer inspiration for craft business owners.

Disclosure: we use affiliate links to connect you to our reading list recommendations, which help support Craft Industry Alliance at no additional cost to you.

Find Your Artistic Voice – Lisa Congdon

This illustrated guide to harnessing your unique creative style is a useful manual for makers as well as artists. Congdon is the author of Art Inc. (which you’d likely find at the top of any reading list for craft businesses), where she explored the nitty gritty of making a living as an artist. In Congdon’s ninth book, she explores a more ethereal concept: how to develop a creative voice that differentiates you from the pack.

Congdon offers suggestions about cultivating your story through practice, and strategies to overcome fear and creative block. Her illustrations are encouraging and playful, bringing life to the text. Short interviews supplement her guide, gathering advice from other creatives like artist Martha Rich and studio potter Ayumi Horie.

Simple Geometric Quilting – Laura Preston 

This guide to modern quilting comes with a fun twist: author Laura Preston creates her quilts on the road, as she travels the United States in her Airstream trailer. Inspiring for any of us who have felt hemmed-in by our craft workspaces. Preston’s quilt designs are inspired by the landscapes she encounters in her travels. Her Pescadero crib quilt takes color and shape inspiration from the organic shape of mussels at low tide. The colors and stripes of the revered Antelope Canyon inspire another design. The quilts are photographed in beautiful natural locations, sure to inspire wanderlust as well as creativity.

A Field Guide to Color: A Watercolor Workbook – Lisa Solomon

An introduction to color theory with playful exercises and “color meditations” – small paintings meant to encourage experimentation with color. Color theory can sometimes feel excessively cerebral. Not here. A Field Guide to Color is accessible to an absolute beginner, with a full breakdown of how color works in watercolor painting, but also in digital and print applications.

Big Dreams, Daily Joys – Elise Blaha Cripe

This book won’t debut til October 8, 2019, but it’s so useful for creative business owners, you’ll want to preorder it now. Elise Blaha Cripe has built a brand around her signature “can do” attitude. Her productivity is on display on Instagram, where her prolific sewing and knitting projects (amongst other creative endeavors) stack up quickly. Her podcast, Elise Gets Crafty, is a staple of the craft world, and her popular daily planners have been helping other folks “get it done” since 2015. Now she’s bringing her upbeat, encouraging attitude to her first book, a guide to productivity and goal setting that’s all about centering what’s important to you. Big Dreams, Daily Joys is particularly well suited for makers, and covers tactics to push through procrastination, and go beyond the basic to-do list.

Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool – Clara Parkes

With six books about yarn and knitting under her belt, you could guess that Clara Parkes is already an expert about all things wool. This didn’t stop her from taking a cross-country yarn adventure. Go behind the scenes with Parkes to discover how a 676 pound bale of fleece is transformed into the skeins for sale in your favorite yarn shop.

Debuting October 15, 2019, Vanishing Fleece is part history book, part pop-culture examination of what’s happening to American manufacturing. From a New York shepherd and his flock of Saxon Merino sheep in New York, to a steamy Maine dyehouse, Parkes introduces you to the workers and artisans responsible for manufaturing the yarn we love.

Creative Calling – Chase Jarvis

Chase Jarvis the founder of CreativeLive, the world’s largest live-streaming education company featuring experts in photography, design, music and entrepreneurship. Before he built a creative empire that has reached millions of students worldwide, Jarvis was a renowned photographer. At 45 years old, Jarvis has already had two successful careers that creatives dream of. Now, he’s compiled his advice for creatives into a new book, which aims to offer a roadmap to building a fulfilling creative career.

Don’t forget, you can always head to the archives to find last season’s reading list for craft businesses. Are you reading anything inspiring this season? Share your favorite craft books in the comments below, and @craftindustryalliance on Instagram to show us your recent reads!

Erin Dollar

Erin Dollar


Erin is the textile designer and artist behind the home décor company, Cotton & Flax. She licenses her surface designs for fabric, home décor, stationery, and other clients. She’s also a teacher, writer, and enthusiastic advocate for small creative business owners. She lives in San Diego, California.

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