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The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching,…

The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the…

by Jane Brocket

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Honestly, I went into this book thinking, I’m not gonna like it. I don’t think of myself as a super feminista, but, hey, I’m a lawyer and before that I was an “engineer” (yeah, I never could seriously take that playing on a computer is “engineer”-like). So I’m used to playing in the man’s world. And all about woman-power in that world. In fact, no one was more shocked than I when 1) I succeeded when I taught myself to crochet (have I mentioned how that came about? mental note: story on how I got started with the textile side of life) or 2) when I wanted to do more and started eyeing quilting. Even as I learned to love and not apologize for my textile domestic inclinations, I still spurned cooking, and the like.

So imagine my surprise to read along with Ms. Brocket and think: right on sister! The Gentle Art of Domesticity is first and foremost, for me anyway, very inspiring eye-candy. Every page is filled with giddyness-inducing photographs of projects, home-y moments and the like. And I really liked that. The next important part for me was its overall message that domesticity isn’t about perfection. It’s refreshing to read and view passages from someone who, let’s face it, seems to have her craft mojo pretty much in the sphere of perfect tell you that is not what it’s all about.

I loved her account of her discovery of craft, her need to learn not to be an apologist for it. And most importantly how wonderful she seems to feel just going with the flow–doing the things she loves.

All that said, I got the book from my library, and I’m glad I did, but I would have been disappointed had I purchased it. It’s a wee-bit on the disjointed side, and about half-way through I started to lose interest. Maybe it’s just me and my overall interest in domesticity. But I think it just isn’t something that will stick with me.

I’d recommend anyone getting it from the library and enjoying leafing through it on a rainy afternoon. And if you are a coffee-table kind of girl, then you might want to buy it because the pictures are lovely and you would enjoy them again and again.

My overall rating: better than I thought. Much better. ( )
  mullgirl | Jun 8, 2015 |
I bought this book after reading several critical reviews. I bought it because I love the photos and words on Brocket's blog. It is totally worth the price even if you never read the text.

I have devoured all of the pictures and slowly made my way through the text. Brocket is an excellent and thoughtful writer. There are so many good thoughts that the photos offer a welcome diversion to some of the text. Not in a bad way, but in a way that allows me to process the words.

The photos are similar to the photos on Jane's blog, Yarnstorm, in style and color choice. They are a luscious feast of flowers, fabrics and fairy buns. Of course there are yarns, needles and plants to round out the domesticity. If you want to make the quilts, the patterns she uses are all about the fabrics and the colors. The patterns are simple enough to figure out just from looking at the pictures. The knitting and crochet patterns are well documented and referenced in the back of the book. She does give many recipes for her culinary inspiration.

I know now why publisher's like C&T have moved away from the Art and Inspiration series: people only want patterns. Why? I don't know since people mostly don't make the projects anyway.

Most of the reviews were critical of the fact that there were no patterns in the book. Even someone whose opinion I valued devalued the book, because there were no patterns. Sigh! While I wanted to see some of the patterns after reading about them, frankly, I am glad there are no patterns. I want inspiration and not patterns. I can't believe a gorgeous, feast for the eyes book like this could be devalued by intelligent, capable women because there are no patterns. Patterns are overrated. I can see Jane following up on The Gentle Art of Domesticity with a "Patterns of the Gentle Art of Domesticity," even if the patterns to which she refers are very well documented in the bibliography.

You should buy this book for its color and inspiration alone. Formerly thoughtful publishers have gone down the path of cookie cutter quilt books where there is a page of text, then pattern after pattern with little to no text on why the artist made the quilt or where the inspiration came from. There are already plenty of patterns in the world, let's beef up the inspiration side of things. Hopefully, this book will be the beginning of a trend.

( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
Loved it, love the look of it, the text, the writing style, the photography, the recipes, the hints, the........did I say I loved it! ( )
  Fliss88 | Feb 11, 2013 |
Wonderful! ( )
  simplybookdrunk | Jun 10, 2009 |
This book is a collection of little vignettes relating to the overall subject of domesticity. The author writes about her favorite domestic novels, how flower beds inspired quilt projects, baking cupcakes with her children (recipe included), etc. Each ~2 page reflection is accompanied by gorgeous photographs, which is really this book's strong point.

To be honest, the book feels very much like a blog--a collection of short posts on a variety of subjects, each with its own lovely photos. For me it lacks the cohesion and real content to make it anything other than a source of visual inspiration. ( )
1 vote brineydeep4 | Apr 10, 2009 |
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Jane Brocket takes inspiration from her surroundings, from art, literature and nature and, through the gentle arts of knitting, baking and sewing, enhances her family life.

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