As we venture into that time of year when we eat too much, and spend too much, I think it’s important to tap into our creative sides even more than ever.

Last Christmas, my sister Kristin bought me one of the most inspirational gifts I’ve ever received.  Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland is one of those books that people who own will probably have their entire life and always refer back to. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.  David and Ted are “working artists” which they explain is an important phrase to use when describing themselves.  The book deals with the emotions artists go through when creating, and how to jump over those barriers we put up for ourselves that turn creating into an intimidating process.  The message applies to all kinds of creators; painters, writers, weavers, printmakers…really anything that involves challenging yourself and allowing your creative process to develop.

As I grow older and work in more offices and at more desks that all start to look and feel the same, I realize more and more that the only gratifying part of my day is when I get home and start creating.  Whether it’s for the stationery cards I am developing at the letterpress studio, or the big ideas I have to cover those ugly white pillows we have on our couch, I realize if I don’t push myself, no one else will.

This Christmas, I am using my sisters inspiring gift from last year to make sure it’s a ‘handmade’ season for me.  My room looks like Santa’s workshop – with embroidered pillows, knit scarves, framed prints- and although it may feel at times that I have too much on my plate, I feel more energized than ever.

Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

If you are searching for that perfect present to give your fellow artist friends this year, I truly recommend Art & Fear…along with something you’ve created of course!

“To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process.” –Art and Fear