Book Review: “The Creative Habit: Learn it and use it for life” by Twyla Tharp.

This book was recommended by Elizabeth Barton in the class I took from her this spring through the Academy of Quilting. I have been slowly reading it ever since. I am still not finished, but I have read enough to highly recommend it.

This book is written in a very conversational, down-to-earth style.  All the concepts are illustrated with real-life examples, and numerous exercises are included to help the reader understand their own creative motivations and how to get started and keep going through the creative process.  The author, who is a dance choreographer, talks about what it is like to face a looming deadline for a performance, knowing that somehow the creative ideas will come and that she will be able to create a dance. She has given a lot of thought to the creative process, and developed many practical tools and habits that facilitate creative development. I particularly like the discussion about “scratching for ideas”.

What I have learned from this book is that understanding the creative process and having the “tools” to use it can make the difference between a craftperson who copies the work of others and an artist who creates genuinely original work. And it helps to understand that all artists, no matter the medium, go through the same intimidating process of coming up with ideas and turning them into finished work.  Importantly, there is plenty of emphasis on the hard work and investment of both time and emotional energy that it takes to get from that vague beginning of an idea to a finished piec of art.

If you have the goal of becoming a creator of truly original art quilts – and it is perfectly OK if you don’t – this book is an excellent resource.

You definitely won’t find this book at your local quilt shop, so here is a link where the book can be purchased at Amazon: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

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