One of the most difficult parts of my transition from Corporate America to stay-at-home-mom was the feeling that I was no longer a part of the creative process. At work, I was responsible for creating new web applications that would be used by colleagues and peers all over the world. It was hugely satisfying to know that people were using the applications I designed to get the information they needed to do their jobs.
At home with my daughter, the creative process is somewhat different and distinctly less tangible. I do use a lot of creative problem-solving -- like trying to figure out new ways to overcome my daughter's dislike for spoon-feeding. But, for the most part, I felt like I had not added anything to my world since I left my job. The place in my heart that wanted so much to share love with a child was finally fulfilled, but at the cost of leaving my creative engines to gather dust.
That's where Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Domesticity came in. Honestly, I first picked up the book simply because the colors on the cover appealed to me (I've had this thing lately for soft orange and melon-pinks). But then I started to read...
First of all, I love the way the book is divided into short chapters with 10-15 topics. Each of the topics is just long enough to give you a good feeling for what Brocket is trying to get across without being preachy or didactic. As an added bonus, the topic lengths are just right for a quick reading break during the day... I can finish a topic while I wait for water to boil or read a few topics just before bed. And yes, this is even with an energetic toddler on the loose.
The topics themselves range from baking bread and choosing fabrics for the perfect quilt to looking at examples of the domestic sphere in art and classic literature. One of my favorite topics has been about patterns and poetry. In it. Brockett reflects on how the patterns we see day to day are reminiscent of the greatest odes and sonnets. A-B, A-B, C-C transitions neatly to the stripe pattern on my latest crochet project or the colors of baby bottles left to dry in the sink.
This book is a reminder that art is everywhere -- even in the most domestic tasks. And, I 'm grateful to Jane Brocket for helping me to see that.
P.S. You can also read some of Brocket's musings online at her blog, Yarnstorm. Or, just drink in the colors from her latest gardening photos. Either way, her work is a must-read!