anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘book

Five Lessons on Art and Creativity from Women Artists

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“Habits gradually change the face of one’s life as time changes one’s physical face; & one does not know it.”

-Virginia Woolf, diary entry, April 13, 1929

This Virginia Woolf quote is printed in the first pages of Mason Currey‘s book Daily Rituals: Women at Workan exploration of how creative minds get to work.

The book is a follow up to Currey’s first book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and is a concerted effort to focus on women artists and in the process, as well as offer up some sense of guidance to readers who might be struggling with their own creative practice. Sometimes, in order to do the work, it’s helpful to know how the people who came before you did theirs.

There are 143 different women in the book, from writers to fashion designers to choreographers. Women artists have—as many women artists still do—experience a particular set of battles when it comes to expressing their creativity. This shines through in the book, and encourages an even greater sense of respect for the creative work that these women were able to produce.

“Most grew up in societies that ignored or rejected women’s creative work, and many had parents or spouses who vigorously opposed their attempts to prioritize self-expression over the traditional roles of wife, mother, and homemaker,” writes Currey. “A number of them had children and faced excruciating choices in balancing the needs of their dependents with their own ambitions. Virtually all of the, confronted sexism among their audiences and among the gatekeepers to professional success—the editors, publishers, curators, critics, patrons, and other tastemakers who, over and over, just happened to find men’s work superior. And this does not even take into account the woman artist’s internal obstacles, the various species of anger, guilt, and resentment that come with forcing the world to make space for you and your achievements.”

I like both of Currey’s books because they get to the heart of what is essential to the person’s creative practice. But as a woman, Daily Rituals: Women at Work particularly resonates, and every time I pick it up I feel like I get something new from it. In fact, it is the kind of book that you can turn into its own daily ritual, reading one entry with your morning cup of coffee.

Inspired by the book, I asked Currey if I could create a few papercuts based off of some of the women he had profiled. He chose the women, and I in turn worked to figure out the main “lesson” that Currey had documented, and that the rest of us could take to heart. These “lessons” are by no means the one takeaway from these women, but I think that they are lessons that can resonate for all of us.

Commit to your craft

Creativity requires work, and no one understood this better than Coco Chanel. Born into poverty, she ended up building an iconic fashion empire, the result of an incredible commitment to her craft.

Welcome dissatisfaction

When we are satisfied with our work, there is nothing to push us forward, something that choreographer Martha Graham knew well. Despite a lifetime of achievements and recognition, Graham was driven by what Currey calls a “chronic dissatisfaction.” We want to be able to revel in our work, to enjoy the process. But a little dissatisfaction will always help to challenge us to continue to evolve in our creative practice.

 

Prepare intensely

Even when creative work flows, when we hit that stride that’s somewhere between magical and mystical, it is on the back of countless hours of preparation. If we don’t lay the ground work, we can’t let go and let serendipity take over. Nina Simone spent countless hours not just practicing, but understanding the spaces where she played. She would spend the afternoon before a show in a music hall, to get an understanding of where people would sit, how close to the stage they would be, what the lighting would be like, where the microphones would be placed. Simone took in every single detail, so that “by the time I got on stage I knew exactly what I was doing.”

 

Be relentlessly curious

As Currey writes in his book, Susan Sontag “succeeded, in large degree, thanks to her seemingly boundless energy.” That energy led to the consumption of books, film, conversations—essentially an insatiable curiosity of everything that was around her. That curiosity helped to shape her world, and her broad amount of references. If we stay curious, we can do nothing but keep learning.

Use art as relief

Art helps us to process, to heal, and who better to exemplify this than Yayoi Kusama. She checked herself into the Tokyo mental hospital in 1977 and she still lives there today, continually creating art as a way to fight her pain, anxiety, and fear. As she calls it, “art medicine.” A reminder that no matter where we are in our lives, we can all tap into this restorative element of art making.

Want to win a copy of Daily Rituals: Women at Work?

In honor of Women’s History Month, I am giving away a couple of copies away. To enter to win, sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be pulling two names at random and announcing them in my next monthly installment of Creative Fuel.

Written by Anna Brones

March 31, 2020 at 09:35

New Book: “Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way”

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Today marks the release of my new book Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way. I love book birthdays because they are the ideal time to give a little backstory on the book and what it meant for me to write it.

Lagom is a Swedish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but means something along the lines of “just right.” As the title of the book would have you believe, it’s a look at how the concept of lagom translates into various elements of Swedish society, and identifies some of the lessons that we might be able to incorporate into our own lives.

But you don’t need me to tell you what’s in the book; you can buy it to get that story! You’re here for the inner look.

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Written by Anna Brones

July 27, 2017 at 06:15

Book Special: Signed Copy of ‘Hello, Bicycle’ + Limited Edition Stainless Steel Pint!

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Hello, Bicycle + Limited Edition Stainless Steel Pint Glass

In honor of the release of my new book Hello, Bicycle, I had a few limited edition stainless steel Klean Kanteen pint glasses made up in celebration (the graphic is actually a papercut that I made). Why pint glasses? Because book releases deserves some cheers-ing, and if you’re celebrating a bike book, then you want to be cheers-ing outside. Practically unbreakable pint glasses help to facilitate that.

Oh, did I hear you say that you want one too? Well lucky you, I’m pairing up a copy of the book and a pint glass for a super sweet summer bike deal. You can snag the two for $25.

Hello, Bicycle Limited Edition Stainless Steel Pint Glass

Why do you need this pint glass in your life?

Stainless steel pint glasses are perfect for summer bike picnics! Toss them in your backpack or pannier, and don’t worry for a second if they’re going to break. They’re also good for ensuring that you don’t use any single-use disposable cups from here on out. A win all around.

Why do you need a copy of Hello, Bicycle?

  • It’s a signed copy
  • You’re supporting an author
  • You’ll get some good recipes for tasty bike snacks (HELLO peanut butter bars)
  • You’ll feel really good about yourself
  • You’ll want to get on a bicycle immediately
  • You’ll turn into a superhero

$25 gets you a signed copy of the book and a limited edition pint glass+ shipping and handling depending on where you live. When you click on the link below, you’ll be taken over to Paypal to complete the payment. Thank you for supporting!

Buy Hello, Bicycle + Limited Edition Stainless Steel Pint now.

Written by Anna Brones

June 15, 2016 at 12:31

Posted in Bike Love

Tagged with ,

Preorder My New Book: Hello, Bicycle

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I am on the less-than-a-month countdown until my new book Hello, Bicycle comes out. Starting to get the pre-book birthday jitters.

As you might gather from the title, the book is all about bicycles. It’s illustrated by the talented James Gulliver Hancock and is a guide to embracing the two-wheeled lifestyle. How to change a flat tire? That’s in there. What you should look for when you are buying your first bicycle? That’s in there too. How to plan a bike trip? That’s in there as well. Recipes for bike snacks? Oh yes.

The book is officially out June 7, 2016, but you can preorder a copy now now and ensure that the book arrives at your doorstep at the beginning of June. That way you know you will be set for all of your summer cycling adventures.

I am working on planning a pedal-powered bike tour for later this summer – more on that later – but if anyone has any recommendations of great bookstores and/or bike shops on the West Coast that would be good for an event, please tell me!

Now, get off your computer and go get on a bicycle (after you order the book that is).

Preorder Hello, Bicycle now.

Written by Anna Brones

May 12, 2016 at 10:34

Posted in Bike Love, Portfolio

Tagged with , ,

Paris Coffee Revolution: Buy the Book

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Paris Coffee Revolution the Book photo by Jeff Hargrove

What makes an “artisan” an “artisan”? What does it look like when you try to do business not as usual? What happens when you challenge the status quo? What does a “passion job” look like?

These are some of the questions that we tried to answer in the book Paris Coffee Revolution, which was just released in October. It’s a book telling the story of the growth of the Paris specialty coffee scene through profiles of some of the city’s main “coffee revolutionaries” who helped to kickstart that growth.

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Written by Anna Brones

December 11, 2015 at 21:55

Preorder a Copy of the Book ‘Paris Coffee Revolution’

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Paris Coffee Revolution Promo Image v 2

For the last two years I have been covering the specialty coffee scene in Paris. For a long time, Paris was a place that was known for bad quality coffee and not much else. But in the last few years, this has changed, and nowadays there are a handful of local specialty roasters and a long list of cafes where you’re sure to get served a good cup.

Last year photographer Jeff Hargrove reached out to me. He had been bitten by the coffee bug and as a portrait photographer, he wanted to self-publish a book with portraits of the “coffee entrepreneurs” in Paris – the people who helped to change the coffee scene. But he wanted more than portraits, he wanted a story. And so I came along to help write that story: Paris Coffee Revolution.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 10, 2015 at 10:12

Preorder the Second Edition of The Culinary Cyclist

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Two years ago, my first book, The Culinary Cyclistwas released. When I first started writing it, I wasn’t really sure if anyone would be interested in the topic of bikes and food. Turns out they were. So much so that the book is coming out in a brand spanking new edition, with all the recipes updated in both volume and weight measurements (that means it’s user-friendly for anyone measuring in cups, ounces or grams), and a few tweaks here and there, as well as a new cover.

It’s my first book, so maybe it will always be my favorite. Even now I keep a copy in the kitchen and reference it regularly. Sometimes I’ll flip through and read a few passages. They still make me happy. And they make me want to get out on my bicycle.

“The rules for living well, if you can call them that, are simple and a pleasure to follow. Eat local and mostly plants. Ride your bike, even on rainy days. Say yes to dinner invitations. Always bring your signature dessert. Invite people on picnics. Bike in the sunshine. Follow a morning ride with a strong French press.” -The Culinary Cyclist

The new edition will be released on September 15, 2015, and you can preorder your copy here. All the recipes are gluten-free and vegetarian, and there’s a whole lot of vegan stuff in there too. In other words: lots of healthy, real food.

Of course, if you want the original, they’re currently 40% off over on Microcosm Publishing, the lovely independent publishing company that is behind the book (while you’re on the site, check out their other titles too). A fantastic deal for the original print of a cookbook, wouldn’t you say?

Written by Anna Brones

August 14, 2015 at 08:12