Fall reading list for creativesIt’s time for a fresh batch of reading material to welcome the Fall, and I’ve rounded up some titles that will have you feeling inspired and creatively rejuvenated as we enter the busiest season of the year. What better time to rekindle your connection to your craft, and gain some perspective on cultivating a fulfilling creative life? From books for aspiring artists to cool crafts for adults, these titles will delight.

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No Mistakes by Keiko Agena

This workbook is a breath of fresh air. With rising pressure for creatives to build perfectly polished brands online, many artists experience the fear of making mistakes actually kills their creativity. Goal setting is important to any business owner, but what happens when those goals become too restrictive, and begin to stifle the artistic process?

This title is half interactive workbook — a place where you can sketch, write down ideas — and half inspirational guide, with Agnea’s beautiful illustrations and thoughtful reflections on the way artists can cope with fear. Her encouraging prompts illuminate the ways that perfectionism can derail creative work, and her attitude about making mistakes as an exploration of your creativity is refreshing.

The Mindfulness in Knitting by Rachael Matthews

Burnout is a common concern among creative business owners. Losing the connection and spark you once had with your craft is frustrating to encounter, and burnout can look different for everyone: feeling depressed or discouraged, lack of motivation, anger and irritation are all symptoms. This book draws upon the spiritual side of craft to recenter the experience of making in mindfulness.

While the specificity and advanced terminology that Matthews uses may make this book best suited for expert knitters, her stories about learning her craft feel relatable to artists working in any medium. The focused attention required to learn the craft in the beginning, the expansive mindset artists can tap into as they see the ways their medium stretches back into history… these are touchpoints that all creatives can connect with. Thinking deeply about the roots and details of your craft can help rekindle the sparks of why you started your creative business — for fiber artists, this book is a particularly good fit.

Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger

Written by the founder of Noonday Collection, a brand that partners with global artisans to create handmade jewelry, this book tells the story of how she built a business dedicated to social impact. What began as a side-hustle to help Honegger make ends meet during the financial downturn became a certified B Corporation with hundreds of brand ambassadors. This book outlines how to embrace courage as a way to understand your own story, connect with others, and grow your own impact. Honegger tells her story of connecting with women around the world, and offers advice for how to let go of fear as you create connections and build community around your business. A powerful example of how craft can become a basis for global change.

I Want to Be Creative by Harriet Griffey

Another guide to building creativity into everyday, this time as a fully illustrated manual of what fuels the creative process. Taking a more analytical approach to dissecting inspiration and productivity, this book outlines the benefits that creative thinking can bring to anyone’s life, and how to harness your inherent creative drives.

Griffey takes examples from the lives of successful people from all sorts of professions (like engineers, playwrights, fashion designers, and musicians) to explore the similar ways they can use creativity to problem-solve in their work. Filled with exercises and prompts, this book has everything you need to maintain a creative mindset.

 Bonus reading: this season’s best craft books for adults.

Print, Pattern, Sew by Jen Hewett

Make + Mend by Jessica Marquez

Weaving Within Reach by Anne Weil

What are you reading this season? Tag @craftindustryalliance on Instagram (and me, too — I’m @cottonandflax), and show us what you’re reading!

Erin Dollar is an artist, surface pattern designer, and founder of Cotton & Flax, a collection of boldly patterned textile home decor that is designed and manufactured in California. Her work has been sold in 100+ retail shops, from indie boutiques, to large mass-market retailers like West Elm, CB2, and Need Supply. By growing her ecommerce business to accommodate wholesale buyers, she has built a sustainable business that generates income year-round, and built a platform for long-term growth. See her webinar, Wholesale for Craft Business, in our archives.

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