Give your emotional, physical and spiritual health a tune-up with a selection of books that put the focus on the beauty of nature
Words: Catherine Coyle
Conscious Creativity by Philippa Stanton
This one’s a workbook – a follow-up to Philippa Stanton’s title from 2018 that offered readers the chance to combine craft-making with elements of mindfulness. With this sequel, the artist and photographer leads us through practical activities, encouraging us to switch off our inner critic and indulge in some creative downtime. Organised using texture, colour, light and the senses, Conscious Creativity is dubbed a free-form guide with no rules, with Stanton inspiring risk-taking to achieve the best results, whether that’s using paint, photography or found objects to engage with the world around you and express yourself through art.
£12.99, Leaping Hare Press
Solace in Nature foreword by Robert Swatt, FAIA
This new coffee table book takes the concept of ‘getting away from it all’ and makes it an everyday reality. Bringing together some of the most spectacular feats of contemporary architecture, the projects featured in Solace in Nature demonstrate how reconnecting with the great outdoors doesn’t have to mean tent poles, bivouacking or tin can cooking. Homes from all over the world are showcased, and there’s no lack of luxury; as these buildings testify, modern architecture can coexist alongside nature. Engaging with one’s surroundings, as these designs show, results in unique, site-specific homes that strike a serene balance between the natural and the man-made world.
£35, Images Publishing
American Gardens by Monty Don & Derry Moore
Extolling the importance of green spaces to our health and wellbeing, gardener and broadcaster Monty Don takes a trip to the USA with celebrated photographer Derry Moore for his latest publication. Complementing the BBC TV series of the same name, American Gardens is more than just a compendium of pretty outdoor photography; instead, the horticulturist visits sites of cultural and historical significance, digging deep into the design of these outside spaces and attempting to decipher some of America’s most important and intriguing gardens. Among them you’ll find Bob Hope’s Palm Springs home, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and the slave garden at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate in Virginia.
Be Well edited by Kari Molvar
When taking some much-needed time out is in order, wellness spas are often the place to find solace and relaxation. Be Well is a new book that offers not only a look at some of the most luxurious spas around the world, but also details the historical roots of self-care and wellness. Roman baths, Scandinavian saunas and Turkish hammams have endured for centuries, each with the singular goal of providing a tranquil refuge in which to rejuvenate the body, mind and soul. Featured in these pages are some extraordinary spaces designed with the 21st century’s desire for wellness at their heart, each exemplifying how your surroundings have an impact on the way you feel physically and emotionally.
Gathering by Kristen Caissie
Coming together to enjoy the company of friends and family has been at the forefront of all our minds recently. Just being around people you feel connected to is one of the best ways to improve wellness. Kristen Caissie, an LA-based stylist and floral designer known for her natural, meaningful arrangements, has gone one step further and produced a book that takes the simple act of setting the table for a get-together and surveyed how mindful choices can help exalt your wellbeing. Gathering has chapters dedicated to table-top ideas as well as foraging in nature and setting a mood with flowers and candles. Luscious photography by Gemma and Andrew Ingalls make this a moreish read.
Perishable Poetics by Jenny Thomasson
More than just a picture book about pretty flowers (although those are always a welcome read), Perishable Poetics is a visual representation of just how much of an impact nature can have on our emotional wellbeing. American floral artist Jenny Thomasson pushes the boundaries of modern botanical design with awe-inspiring photography that shows not only the seasonal, temporal nature of plants and flowers but their fragility, their mood-boosting benefits and their creative beauty. Thomasson has included some of her own personal hand-drawn sketches and notes showing her process through each design. This is a gentle, thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting volume that will feed the soul.
£61.99, Schiffer Books