Friday, November 16, 2007

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

I placed my first Book Depository order last week. I must say I have been very impressed with them. Not only are the books cheaper than here (even after converting from British Pounds to Australian Dollars), but the order arrived extremely promptly. I did receive one quite damaged book but their customer service department has been excellent and they have committed to sending me a fresh copy.

One of the books I ordered was The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brockett. I visit Jane’s blog regularly and had to dive straight in when this arrived. Never mind, that I was halfway through The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton! Jane delights in the joy that the pursuit of the ‘gentle arts’ can bring. Now, I am not that crafty. I love looking at what other people create and am sorely tempted to have a go myself but my perfectionist streak holds me back; I am too concerned that I will make a mistake and my project won’t turn out to my satisfaction (the same reason I find it hard to keep a written journal). But Jane shows in her book that we all have abilities in this area and that the joy is in the process of creation and not necessarily the outcome. I have been inspired; now I have conquered how to thread my sewing machine next stop is a quilt! I should also like to regain my knitting skills. Not that there are many skills to regain as I have only ever known how to plain and purl, but one has to start somewhere. I did quite a bit of knitting when I did a study abroad in the US – the Chaplain ran a program called Craftwork / Soulwork which I attended. My Nanna was the one who taught me to knit as I patiently plain stitched a jumper for my Teddy when I was nine – and then promptly gave the art-form up!

Before you leave this blog thinking that Jane’s book is solely about craft, I must point that she addresses the domestic arts in all their forms - baking, gardening and decorating. She draws on films, poetry, domestic novels, and artwork to support her beautiful prose. Oh, and the pictures are just delightful. They are so vibrant and full of colour that I want to step into them. I really loved this book and was sad to finish it. I am sure it will be coming off the shelf on a regular basis to give me joy, comfort and inspiration, and add a splash of colour to my life! And now, I am off to put some of those domestic skills into practice sewing black sequins on to a white tutu.

1 comment:

  1. I also am a big fan of The Book Depository! Great prices and service. This book (Gentle Art of Domesticity) is going to be released in the US in 2008 so I'm going to try to wait for that - I'm really excited to read it. I'm looking forward to your review of the Mrs Beeton book - I have it on my shelves unread.