"A material thing — a stone, a photograph, an old shoe — can become a shrine when it is displayed in a way that evokes inspiration, memory, respect, or reverence," writes California photographer and author Jean McMann in this beautifully designed collection of photographs of altars with accompanying essays. The ordinary people here talk about the sacred spaces they have created on tables, shelves, mantels, computers, windowsills, and elsewhere. They cherish the creative play that goes into designing altars with photos, talismans, and mementos.

Each altar has its own special personality blending shape, color, and texture into a distinctive whole. And the uses of these sacred spaces are informative: they are places of meditation, ritual, and serenity, as well as memorials for the dead and dream palaces for the future. Altars and Icons is a work that will inspire you to create more sacred spaces in your home or workplace.