I've always been fascinated by the process that individual artists follow in their creations. On a few occasions in the past I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview writers and musicians and talk with them about the approach they take in creating their work. The only truism I've discovered from those conversations is the process is as unique to an individual as the art they produce. Therefore, by extension, you can add that looking to another's process is not much use if you're looking for tips or shortcuts to help with your own work.
However, there are benefits of a less tangible nature, for both non-artists and artists alike, to be found in reading about how somebody goes about creating and then making their art. For the non-artist, it's a way of learning more about art in general and gaining a deeper appreciation for the amount of work involved with creating. More specifically, reading about one person's methods and efforts gives you insights into their work that can only increase your enjoyment of whatever they produce. For those who are also trying to create, sometimes just reading another's tales is sufficient to bring one's own efforts into perspective and might just encourage you to keep flailing away even when things seem most futile.
It's with all that in mind that I recommend to both artist and non artist alike a new publication by British sculptor Heather Jansch, Heather Jansch's Diary: A Life In The Year Of. Laid out like a cross between a journal and sketch book, this sixty-four page spiral bound package is replete with not only the joys and travails involved in Ms. Jansch's efforts to produce her extraordinary sculptors made of driftwood and other fallen timbers, it's fleshed out with anecdotes about her life in general. As a result, you not only learn something about her work but also the artist as well and how her life and her art intertwine.
What Ms. Jansch is primarily famous for are her sculptures of horses. Ranging from scale models to life size, they are unlike any other statues of horses I've ever seen. Constructed by attaching drift wood and other found wood to a frame work, her creations capture more of the wildness and power of the animal subject - more of its spirit in fact - than you would think possible for an inanimate object. Somehow, she is able to arrange the individual pieces of wood so they coalesce into a single entity of muscle and sinew. Posed in mid-motion, she has so successfully captured the kinetic energy of the animal that you are in constant anticipation of their next move.