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44 Reviews
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book, Wrong Title
This book suffers from a misleading title. "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" suggests a how-to book filled with recipes and patterns and helpful hints. A more accurate title might have been "The Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife" or "Gentle Domesticity: The Art of Jane Brocket."

Have no doubts about it: Jane Brocket is an artist. She has a vivid sense of...
Published on December 27, 2008 by Red Clay Reader

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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Love/Hate Review
I bought this book because it was recommended in some of my favorite blogs but I must agree with the 2 star review that the author seems almost secretly embarrassed that she spends her days cooking, knitting, quilting, etc. So coming out to the world with this book she brings up her education credentials constantly. I guess I am trying to express that I found her writing...
Published on October 19, 2008 by S. G. Luxton


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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book, Wrong Title, December 27, 2008
This book suffers from a misleading title. "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" suggests a how-to book filled with recipes and patterns and helpful hints. A more accurate title might have been "The Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife" or "Gentle Domesticity: The Art of Jane Brocket."

Have no doubts about it: Jane Brocket is an artist. She has a vivid sense of color, pattern and texture that bursts through every page of this book. You wonder how anyone can bring themselves to eat her baked goods, they're so gorgeous. She is also a marvelous photographer.

Instead of a how-to book, consider this an illustrated argument that domestic crafts--knitting, quilting, baking, sewing--should be taken seriously as artistic endeavors, that utility is not the enemy of beauty, that everyday things can and should be aesthetically pleasing, that there is value in the homemade. The domestic arts are deeply pleasurable for both those who practice them as well as for those who are the lucky recipients of homemade socks and brilliantly frosted cupcakes.

When I was a kid, back in the '70s, it was common for people to say, "If women are equal to men, why are there no great women artists?" It took me years to realize that I was surrounded by great women artists, knitters, needleworkers, and cooks, to mention only a few. Jane Brocket is an artist. Her book is inspiring, visually delightful, and well-written. I enjoyed learning more about her process and her thoughts about color (she is a color genius) and the joys of crafting.

My only caveat would be: Understand what kind of book you're getting yourself into before you buy it. The negative reviews posted here seem to be the result of people buying "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" thinking it would be something other than what it is.
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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Love/Hate Review, October 19, 2008
By 
S. G. Luxton (Billings, Montana) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this book because it was recommended in some of my favorite blogs but I must agree with the 2 star review that the author seems almost secretly embarrassed that she spends her days cooking, knitting, quilting, etc. So coming out to the world with this book she brings up her education credentials constantly. I guess I am trying to express that I found her writing (to emulate her dearth of the common vernacular) grandiloquent. So that is the Hate part of the review. The Love part is that I do like to look into what inspires, moves & drives people to create. I am a list person so an introduction to some new movies, artists, recipes and places kept me reading. I personally do not subscribe to her color theory but the product & photos are beautiful. So my final word is I am happy to have read the book. I feel I got my money's worth but I would recommend skipping her more pretentious passages. I mean, really, when is the last time you used the word ludic?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A happy, colorful, inspirational book of a life well-lived, March 23, 2009
By 
I'm really perplexed by the snippy reviews here. This book was wonderful! What's wrong with Mrs. Brocket mentioning her education? It's fascinating that she started off in search of a doctorate and then veered off in an entirely different direction because she really listened to her heart. I found her unpretentious - she makes a point of underplaying her gifts, reminding the reader repeatedly that her talents are humble, but she gets as much joy from them as possible. Most lifestyle books are tediously written, with generic, safe language right out of your average women's magazine. I liked the quirkiness of Jane Brocket's voice.

I haven't tested any recipes yet, so I appreciate the comments by other reader who discovered that the conversions were off. Mostly, though, I want this book for inspiration. It lifts me above my daily stresses and makes me want to do a bit of gardening, learn to knit (something colorful), read a few Persephone novels or watch an old Cary Grant movie - simple, affordable pleasures for a difficult time. This was the first lifestyle book I ever bothered to read cover-to-cover. I carried my library copy for weeks on my bus ride to work and it was the most wonderful escapist pleasure. I lost myself in the colors and the vivid sense of happiness and a life well-lived, and I walked into work smiling. I will definitely be buying a copy.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SLIGHTLY inspiring, May 2, 2009
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I picked this up because I was excited about the title, Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art, and the comforts of Home. I had no idea who Jane Brocket was, nor did I know anything about some blog she ran/runs called Yarnstorm. Apparently, from reviews I read after the fact, this book is pretty much a collection of her blogs about the "domestic arts." This is not an instructional book by any means (which was the impression I presumed when I read the cover), unless you consider a few recipes tossed here and there as instructional. If you care about what Brocket thinks about the domestic arts, you'll like this book. It's filled with lots of whimsical, bright photos she has taken of her many domestic projects and inspirations. Other than that, I don't know what else I'm supposed to get out of this book. I suppose one could find it inspiring. Brocket wants to encourage people that the gentle arts are nothing to be ashamed of and should be embraced, although she ironically seems to remind the reader of her vast education/career repetitively throughout. She also came off a bit uppity and out of touch with her reading audience. While she could inspire on a broad scale as she talks extensively about knitting, crocheting, embroidery, baking, quilting, and SOME gardening (the nature part, which sucked) she is using materials that are NOT affordable to the average "domestic artist" (Homegirl ain't knitting with yarn from Walmart, yo). I'm sure if I could afford to stay at home and use high quality materials to make tea cozies, I'd embrace the "domestic arts" too. Basically, I thought this book was going to provide some kind of instructional on the "domestic arts" and it didn't. I don't care what this lady thinks about mohair.
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63 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures, a few good recipes...., September 21, 2008
I was so excited when this book was released in the US, however I find myself disappointed.

The photos are fantastic and the few (maybe five or so?) recipes that are in this book interest me. Other than that this book falls flat. I find the book MUCH too wordy (and yes, I know books usually do contain many words). She just talked about herself way too much, almost to the point of annoyance. It seems like a collection of favorite stories, quilts (no patterns, just pictures), knitting (once again, just photos), and favorite movies and books. The reader is also constantly reminded of her education throughout the book (MA, MW, shelved PhD).

Long story short- this seems like a personal journal full of fantastic photos. I don't know the author, so I couldn't really care less about her personal prefrences. I feel like this will be a nice book for her children/grandchilren one day. Way too personal. I really don't feel that this should be called a "craft book". This book is more inspirational if anything.

I will keep the book though, only for the photos.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For what it is, it is exactly that, January 16, 2009
I've read the various reviews of Ms. Brocket's book - glowing and full of praise or angry and insulting. It seems this has been the response to her work; you will either join the Club of Domesticity (or Cult, depending on your point of view) or you will call the book a vain attempt to justify working in the home.

These reviews almost kept me from buying the book. Who needs a split opinion, right? There are so many books out there, why not buy the one that everyone loves, everyone says is just right, everyone wants to read? Well, there are many reasons not to go for the one that "everyone" loves but in the end, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

The book is, like another reviewer posted, essentially short blog posts, gathered together into a themed section. The whole is filled with lovely photography - and they are lovely, whether they have been enhanced as some claim or not. (And since when did enhancing photos become a negative thing? Without it, supermodels wouldn't be so super.)

If the buyer goes into the purchase knowing that this book doesn't give you page after page of recipes, it doesn't provide stacks of patterns or even many "how-tos", then there won't be any disappointment. The Gentle Art of Domesticity is exactly what it intends to be - a tribute to a life lived within the home and for the home and its occupants. The work is all about portraits - minatures mostly - of different domestic ideas. Ms. Brocket takes great pleasure in enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of her world and that comes across to the reader. There is nothing wrong with enjoying those things, photographing those things, describing those things and sharing those things with readers. We don't have to have her exact recipe, blueprint, pattern or camera so we can duplicate the work exactly. That isn't the point of the book, or of creativity either. Become inspired by the book, don't try to replicated.

My favorite part of the book has been the fine art paintings she included with her essays. Seeing these little known (to me) works in this context has been inspiring and makes her essays come together. The lists she creates, like her favorite Cary Grant movies, are fun but not what this book is about. It isn't a book that I devoured in one (or even three) readings; it takes me time to go through each essay, to look at the photography and to think about what she is saying. You may not agree with all her points of view, but they are interestingly described nonetheless.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, April 8, 2009
This book is so beautiful that I can't leave it alone. I've read it cover to cover several times, and each time I look at it I find more inspiration. The photos, layouts and colors are simply stunning visually. This is a VERY visual book. It just makes you feel good to look at it. This is not a book about being a housewife. This is a book about appreciating the beauty in simplicity, solitude, family, and everyday life. I am so grateful I stumbled across this gem.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fell Flat for Me, November 26, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I splurged on this book on a whim, but it left me cold. I expected more recipes as well as knitting patterns. At times it seemed like the author was trying too hard to justify her choice of a domestic-oriented life. How many would make that choice in a second if it were feasible? A lot! The photos were nice, and her baked goods were enticing. I also liked the British references.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm still struggling, December 15, 2008
By 
Richard J. Flis (INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I like the author's blog- it is informative, chatty, beautiful. The book while beautiful is preachy. I am not enjoying it. I will finish flipping through it and pass it on. Oh well. Sadly a bit of a costly mistake.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fluff and Stuff, September 21, 2009
By 
Posh Oz (London via Australia) - See all my reviews
This book whilst nice to browse through really is just fluff and stuff. The few recipes are straight from the pages of "Baker & Spice". Her writing became very annoying after a while, like a stranger talking at you rather than to you. Having bought the book a year ago, it has been the only "craft" book I have never, ever wanted to look at again because of the way Ms Brocket writes. Who cares of she has started or finished art courses or become a wine taster? Why do we need to be reminded of those? She just comes across as a self indulged, middle class, lady who lunches, bit of a frump mum. I passed this book on several times, and all those who have flicked through it felt the same. You're much better off spending your money elsewhere.
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The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home
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