13 June 2010

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

I have to admit - the first time I saw The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket sitting on the store shelf I went, "Oh dear, another pink book about how nice it is to stay home" and didn't give it much thought.  Over the past year or so I braved opening the pink jacket (I'm not much of a pink person) and flipped through it.  It seemed more like a book about inspiration in your creative life...hmmmmm....I recently found a bargain copy and decided to buy it.  I'm glad I did - this was a really fun book to read/peruse.

The basis for The Gentle Art of Domesticity is Brocket's blog yarnstorm (now found here, her author site is here), started in 2005 to write about knitting and everything else she liked to see or do.  In her introduction Brocket makes the distinction between "domesticated" - meaning the scut work of cleaning, scrubbing, laundry, etc. - and "domesticity" which is the fun stuff like baking, knitting, gardening...in short, creating.  Which I kind of like because if faced with a nauseatingly difficult lace knitting project or folding the laundry, I'll take the lace knitting over the laundry any day (I can always fish clean knickers out of the basket if necessary; the lace won't knit itself, haha).

She creates a lot in her life - yummy cakes, colorful quilts, lush garden plots, flashy socks.  She writes a great deal about the inspiration for her crafts, from books to paintings (the book shows some great scenes of knitting circles), movies to toenail polish, and garden colors translated into a quilt. Brocket also takes beautiful pictures of all the things she loves to create, making me quite jealous because my pictures never come out the way I think they will. The book is worth the pictures alone - if you don't believe me check out her blog; the post about lettuces is a prime example.  She also writes wonderfully about her children and husband who like to help her with her creative endeavors and have learned from her example.

I think a considerable amount of her creativity comes from having the time to observe and plan (although, I think one could make the argument that she has "made" time for herself since she does have kiddos to care for). If I had her time - instead of squeezing knitting and sewing in along side vaccuuming the cat fur out of the furnishings when I get home from working 60+ hours per week - who knows what I'd create. I had a lot of fun reading this book - all the entries and pictures are a testament to finding activities you love to do and sharing that love with others.

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