Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: The Gentle Art of Domesticity

Happy Tuesday and a great big Thank You to everyone who came out for our Late Risers Sale over the weekend.

It was really fun.

I'm such a nerd but I really look forward to Sale days.

And another Thank You to anyone who donated food to our Food Drive.

I have a lot of goods to deliver to the local food pantry and for that I am very grateful.

Please keep in mind that we are continuing our food drive through Christmas and anyone who donates a non-perishable food item will receive a free gift from us.

So if you did not make it to the sale or you forgot your donation then you are not too late!

Alright, on to the book review.

Today I wanted to talk about the book The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art and the Comforts of Home by Jane Brocket. We have been carrying this book at the shop for about a year now, so I am a bit late to the party for a book review.

But, better late than never, right?

I have been reading Jane Brocket's blog for a long time and browsed the pages of her book many times. Both book and blog host beautiful photography. Eye candy, really. Porn for crafters. But up until recently I never really sat down and cozied up to the book.

Rewind to a couple of weeks ago when Ollie and I were on vacation to Bar Harbor. We stopped at an antiques store called "The Love Barn" (which, by the by, I had been trying unsuccessfully to visit for about five years now, but this time was triumphant). Upon stepping foot inside the building what should I see but the cheery pink spine of Jane's book peeping out. Never one to pass up a bargain but perennially one to forget a good book when I go on vacation, I bought the book, along with some really pretty vintage rose fabric that I think would make Jane Brocket very proud.

The grand total?

$7.00, thank you very much.

Now, let's by-pass the obvious question (which is "What the heck was this book doing in a second hand shop?"), and let's talk about the book itself.

Once I kicked back my feet on the hotel bed and started reading I became absorbed.

Perhaps with the exception of Midwest Modern by Amy Butler, this is like no other craft book out there.

First of all, there are no patterns, no instructions and no materials lists, so you must clear that notion from your head.

This book will not provide dimensions or facts and figures but it will serve as an inspiration resource.

Comprised of several vignettes where Brocket waxes poetic about her domestic endeavors, (beginning with what "domesticity" means these days), the book then goes on to tell tales of sweater vests, homemade marshmallows, knitting, embroidery and of course quilting.

You may not think that an essay on sweater vests can be absorbing, but you would be deliciously wrong.

Each essay is independent from the other, meaning you can skip around the book and read in short spurts, in whatever order you want (kind of like a magazine).

I had a great time breezing from one page to another, drawn in by the gorgeous photography, and reading Brocket's musings on cupcakes and tulip bulbs, the relationship between colorful fruit and even more colorful yarn, her first meeting with Kaffe Fassett, art, movies and yes... sweater vests.

Brocket finds joy, art and inspiration in the everyday.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to do the same.

There may not be any instructions for the gorgeous "Sunshine After the Rain" quilt on page 112 (which was inspired by a single piece of fabric: a process with which I immediately identified), but after reading Jane Brocket's process of creating the quilt you will want nothing more than to run out and make your own.

You will be inspired to knit and bake and clean and enjoy it like you've never done before.

Now, obviously, we don't all feel the call to be domestic divas.

But should you find joy and beauty in just one menial task or one hobby or one daily chore, or even if you just imagine what that may feel like, this book is for you.

A coffee table book?


A bathroom book?

Yes, YES!

(And that is the highest compliment I have in my arsenal)

Even if you are late to the party, I highly recommend The Gentle Art of Domesticity.Link



I am pleased to announce that Jane Brocket will soon be releasing a book devoted entirely to quilting!

The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking
will be released in the coming months.

Of course we will carry the book and perhaps if I am very lucky and perfect that clone I have been working on I will even review it in a timely manner.


Karen L R said...

Yes, this is a lovely book, which is read best with a cup of tea at hand. A fire in the fireplace is even better.

And there's a quilting book coming soon??? Oh, mercy me!

zoesimm said...

I too have been reading her blog for a long time & loved her book...looking forward to a quilting book from her :)

Anonymous said...

Love Jane Brocket's blog. I have always wanted to travel in England and her comments make me long to do so even more. Gorgeous photos and wonderful comments. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

I also recently read this book and loved it. I have started reading her blog regularly, too. While raising my 3 children (all in their 20s now), I was lucky enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mom, and thus had the opportunity to do many of the "gentle arts". Some many times our society looks down upon people (usually women) who enjoy "making it from scratch and doing it myself". I'm hopeful that the next generation of women (20s/30s) bring these wonderful time-honored arts back to the front burner! Jane Brocket's writing is wonderful, so cozy and heart-warming. You just want to have a cup of tea and quilt with you!

Ravenhill said...

This sounds like a delightful book! You have such a gift with words and I sure love reading your posts!
~Emily xoxox

Tonya Gunn said...

I have been considering the possibility of acquiring this book. Sounds lovely.
Many thanks for the review.
Warm wishes.