Bergers Book Reviews

Knit, Hook and Spin

Knit, Hook and Spin
Author: Laurie Carlson
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-61373-400-1
Pages: 144
Price: $14.99

Buy it at Amazon

Fiber crafts are a fun way to use our hands to create pretty and useful objects. In Knit, Hook and Spin, author Laurie Carlson walks kids through the process of crafting several interesting projects using yarn and fabric.

Yarn crafts begin with spinning and dying, and kids are taught how to manufacture their own yarn. Felting, knotting and braiding, weaving, knitting, and crochet are introduced, with a brief description of each process. Within each section, a few fun projects are presented, so kids can turn these new techniques into hand-made objects.

Although this book is meant for kids, I felt the desire to create some of these cute items, myself. But I found the directions and pictures accompanying the projects to be skimpy and vague. While Knit, Hook and Spin may give kids the interest in exploring new fiber crafts, they may need to turn to more detailed instructions to master these intricate techniques.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 26, 2016 Posted by | art, crafts, creativity | Leave a comment

The Trickster’s Hat

The Trickster's Hat
Author: Nick Bantock
Publisher: Perigree Trade
Genre: Art / Creativity
ISBN: 978-0-399-16502-3
Pages: 208
Price: $20.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

When our creativity seems to have deserted us and we feel like we’re making the same piece of art over and over again, it helps to have a fresh perspective. Exercises designed to pull us away from the rut we’re stuck in can point us in a new and exciting direction. Nick Bantock knows all about these ruts, and has provided us with a guide to getting unstuck.

The forty-nine exercises in this book provide unexplored territory for our creativity to run riot. Using magazines, paint, postage stamps, and other assorted collage materials, we’re encouraged to be haphazard in our approach and to think outside the box. Our intent is not to produce art, but we may be surprised by the results of our activities.

Although this book is written for all forms of creativity, those who specialize in the visual arts will probably find it most helpful. Other creative folks won’t have some of the materials on hand or a good understanding of the concepts presented, but may still enjoy dabbling in unfamiliar territory as a means of loosening blocks. The Trickster’s Hat is chock full of fun projects that will stimulate the creative urge and open us to new possibilities.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 10, 2014 Posted by | creativity | Leave a comment

The Art of Getting Started

The Art of Getting Started
Author: Lee Crutchley
Publisher: Perigree Trade
Genre: Creativity
ISBN: 978-0-399-16407-1
Pages: 160
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Do you have trouble starting a new creative project? Is the blank canvas or screen too intimidating to face, so you try to avoid it? Do you wish and hope you could be an artist, but never follow through on your dreams? If so, The Art of Getting Started might be able to help you in your creative pursuits.

This unique book on jump-starting creativity doesn’t spoon-feed good ideas and suggestions for moving past blocks. Instead, it’s chock-full of exercises designed to get you out of your head and onto the page. While encouraging us to make messes and allow our work to be less than perfect, it forces us to take action and not sit around waiting for inspiration to strike.

It’s risky to start a new project when we don’t know the outcome. But if we never start, we can never know the joy of completion and the chance of success. If you work through the exercises in this book, you may find some of your creative blocks vanishing, leaving you free to create.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 6, 2013 Posted by | creativity | Leave a comment

The Artist’s Way for Parents

The Artist's Way For Parents
Author: Julia Cameron
Publisher: Tarcher
Genre: Creativity / Parenting
ISBN: 978-0-399-16372-2
Pages: 288
Price: $26.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The Artist’s Way is one of the best-selling and most helpful books on developing creativity. But a special book was needed to help parents teach their children to honor their own creative gifts. In The Artist’s Way for Parents, Julia Cameron shares some of the secrets she learned in being the parent of a creative daughter.

The basic structure of this volume is similar to other “Artist’s Way” books. Broken down into twelve chapters with headings such as Cultivating Curiosity, Cultivating Limits, and Cultivating Independence, Cameron explores sub-topics within this framework. An exercise for parents and/or children is included after each lesson. Familiar tools are utilized, such as morning pages and creative expeditions (artist’s dates) along with something new – sharing highlights of the day with your child.

Allowing a child to have a safe environment to create in is key to maximizing his highest potential. But this may not come naturally, and guidance from an expert can be helpful. If you want to nurture your child in exploring his creativity, The Artist’s Way for Parents would be a valuable resource. I highly recommend this book and the others in the “Artist’s Way” collection by Julia Cameron.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 5, 2013 Posted by | art, creativity, parenting | Leave a comment