Working on a handmade project has more benefits than just producing something useful or beautiful, many crafters say: it can also encourage a feeling of well-being. Forthcoming books that are less how-to than how-to-be include Craftfulness, which coauthor Rosemary Davidson calls “a meditation on the benefits of having a craft practice.” Pursuing a project with concentration and intent, she says, “allows your mind and hands to take over and let life’s small stresses fall away for a while.” Here are four titles that offer chicken soup for the crafter’s soul.
Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin (HarperWave, Jan. 2019)
Two U.K. publishing veterans—Davidson heads up Random House U.K.’s Square Peg imprint, and Tahsin is a longtime editor turned agent—encourage those who feel drawn to a particular craft but worry they lack the time, motivation, or skills to do it, such as “people who feel their drawing isn’t any good, or that their knitting is clumsy,” Tahsin says. “We want to turn these ideas around and show people it’s more important to become dedicated to the process. The results will take care of themselves.”
Maggie Oman Shannon (Viva Editions, Dec.)
An ordained interfaith and Unity minister shares projects intended to help crafters connect with family and friends, including a “conversation starter” tablecloth and “anytime” valentines. Rather than detailing step-by-step instructions, Shannon offers general guidance and inspiration. “It takes time to make something by hand, and it’s a rarity today,” she says. “Chances are you’re not going to take that time for someone you don’t genuinely care about, so a handmade gift is a declaration of love, or affection.” Her new book rounds out a trio that also includes 2013’s Crafting Calm and 2017’s Crafting Gratitude.
Draw and Be Happy
(Tim Shaw, illus. by Cachetejack. Chronicle, Nov.)
Shaw, a fine artist and the founder of Hospital Rooms, a London nonprofit, offers exercises inspired by art therapy techniques, illustrated by Spanish artists Nuria Bellver and Raquel Fanjul, who together go by the name Cachetejack. By painting circles without worrying about getting them exactly right, Shaw proposes, or drawing a self-portrait that focuses on what’s inside rather than outside, readers will gain confidence and reduce stress.
Clint Harp (Touchstone, Oct.)
HGTV woodworker Harp writes in this memoir of his realization, after trying several other career paths, that he felt most fulfilled when he pursued cabinetry. For our Q&A with Harp, see "Handmade and Heartfelt."