Friday, September 5, 2008

Domestic Comforts...

The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket

"The gentle arts are all about comfort. They are soothing, relaxing, consoling and caring. They benefit both the maker and those around her with the creation of a comfortable, creative, tactile environment in which individuals can feel secure, at ease, happy-- even if it is only a temporary respite from more pressing cares." ~Jane Brocket

I've been waiting for this book for quite a while. I haven't been a regular reader of
Yarnstorm, Jane Brocket's blog, but I have visited there to have a look from time to time and have always thought it fun, interesting, and pretty. So, I had my eye on Jane's book as soon as I heard it would be coming out. I almost ordered it from Amazon UK but decided to wait for the less expensive American version (the current exchange rate is a killer, not to mention the shipping costs).

And now the book is here. It's been sitting open on the dining table for days, and when I have some extra time, I sit down to read another essay or to look at photos and ideas. I don't like the cover of the American version of the book as well as the UK version (isn't that always the case?), but that doesn't alter the inside, which is a whole bunch of fun to read and browse.

If I was ever going to be finally inspired to knit (for the first time) and quilt (again) and bake (which doesn't take much prodding) and do all sorts of homey things with my hands, this book is just the sort of thing that's going to tip me over the edge.

I'm already planning a trip to the quilt store, and maybe I'll actually take a knitting class so I can make myself an afghan! It's easy to persuade myself to make fairy cakes (I like the British moniker, "fairy cakes" much better than the unimaginative American name "cupcakes") because I'd rather be in the kitchen than anywhere else. Actually, I'll be making some of these for Roman's birthday party Saturday, and maybe I'll put a few candies on top just like Jane does (and so many other British bakers).

I love the domestic artwork featured in The Gentle Art of Domesticity (Jane loves the same kind of art I do, for the same reasons), and I've made a library list to check for her favorite domestic novels (the ones I haven't already read). There's much in this book that is interesting, fun, and stimulating.

The author is an educated woman who was surprised to find herself passionate about home arts. She is honest in saying that she isn't inspired by domestic household cleaning chores but merely does them to make home pleasant. As a Christian, I find much merit and potential in moving through the daily household routine, but that's beside the point.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this book and do recommend it. It's meant to discuss and inspire one toward the domestic arts and comforts of home, and I think it does, but if you look to the book to find patterns and recipes for the projects that are pictured inside, you might be disappointed. Jane indeed shares some recipes, but mostly she is simply sharing, through her writing as well as her photos, her own domestic life and encouraging us to find our own happy way.