The Not So Gentle Art of Domesticity

10 Responses to The Not So Gentle Art of Domesticity

  1. katie says:

    You absolute STAR!

    i have lots to say, and no time to say it. but we will talk in the car tomorrow, and eventually i will get something down as words.

    but – just superb. and i wanted you to know that’s how i feel. 🙂

  2. wazz says:

    A fantastic post. What a careful and thoughtful account you give here of your response to the book and the debate its provoked. I am in agreement with absolutely everything you say here — and particularly about JB’s reading of those paintings — which are, indeed, shallow, conservative, and completely decontextualised.

  3. Emily says:

    I am so pleased to have found your blog and the missability podcast, which is downloading to my MP3 right now to take me through my morning jog!

    I too am a devotee of the domestic and it is great to encounter women and their blogs who engage with it on a deeper level than ‘how pretty’ or ‘look what I made’ and ‘look what I bought’.

    I had not heard of Jane Brocket until this brouhaha started, and I thought she must be some sort of Cath Kidston type with an interiors book and thought I’d prolly be into that for Christmas! so I checked out her yarnstorm… and felt my brain leaking out of my ears as I read. I cannot express my astonishment to learn she has so many readers. There’s… nothing… there. Even the pictures aren’t that good. It actually made me feel BAD about being domestically-minded.

    Anyway, your blog was one of the search results when I googled The Gentle Art of Domesticity and I’m so glad I stumbled upon you!

  4. purejuice says:

    thank you very much for this.
    i woke up from a nap thinking, by george, i think i’ve got it — she sounds just like the butler in The Remains of the Day. there’s a huge effing elephant in the room and she Has No Clue.

    you’ve also picked up on a stepin fetchit tone she has that chills me to the bone — how she and her husband were laughing about “the tempest in the vintage teacup” and how it’s all driving him crazy.
    i’m sure it is. >:-(

    and she’s very dodgy AND snotty about it all.

    enough already. i’m electrified by your PhD topic. is there a link you can direct me to where you explore it at a bit more length?

    with many thanks again.

  5. littlelixie says:

    A very fair appraisal. She has become the Nigella of the knitting world, but without the following of drooling males. I feel sorry for her but do feel she’s done it to herself.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Hi, I’m Nicola. Came across your blog while searching for reviews of the book which I find refreshingly unpretentious and I’ve enjoyed reading it.

    Obviously your opinion is different but I have to say that I find some of the comments here unkind and personal.

  7. Felix says:

    Thanks Nicola, for your feedback.
    It would be great to know which comments in particular you find ‘personal’ and ‘unkind,’ as I spent several weeks considering what I was going to say and hoped to make a meaningful contribution to what I see as an important debate.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi, it’s Nicola again. The last comment is not from me.

    It wasn’t your review of the book which I was taking issue with – although I don’t agree with what you’ve said I can see that it’s well-considered. I know you are not responsible for the Comments which appear on your blog but some of them are mean-spirited and I just think we should consider the feelings of those who may be reading. Regards.

  9. purejuice says:

    i’ve just re-read this wonderful review again (apropos the Poo commentary at Needled) and want to thank you for it. the thing that most strikes me now is brocket’s disingenuousness — you didn’t like this? oh, it was IRONIC.

    i don’t think so.

  10. Monique says:

    ‘To be an artist requires a level of critical engagement’. No it doesn’t; it just needs the artist to show up and create something. Anything. We are all artists or potential artists. Art is just human expression. That is all, no one needs to assess the value of the said expression or to opine if it is art or not to make it art. You compare Christian Marclay’s action as art, but as you said, that was a statement and a confusing one at that, without any dialogue to explain no one would understand the point being made. What it has to do with the painting showing a domestic scene I don’t really know! You are not comparing like with like.

    It was indeed a book a book about fairy cakes and doing a bit of knitting. Unfortunately both the author and yourself seem to have got carried away about any deeper meaning. I agree that the book wanted to be taken seriously but not in the way you think it should be – that would be a whole different book and audience for it. I found the book disingenuous and patronising as it attempted to communicate the intellectual superiority of the author while marketing to an ‘inferior’ audience.

    A frustrating blog post which says little of value relating to the actual book, sadly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright statement

You may transmit content found on this website (excluding my knitting patterns which are protected under International copyright law) under the following conditions:

- You always attribute my work to me, Felicity Ford, including a link back to this site
- You do not alter my work
- You do not use my work for commercial purposes

To discuss any other uses of my work, please contact me directly on the telephone number and email address provided at the top of this blog.

Creative Commons License
All the work shown here by Felicity Ford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

From time to time I feature images, sounds or words on this blog which are not my own: in all such cases the original copyright owner is named. International copyright law requires that in order to republish their content, you must seek out their permission.

Thank you for respecting these terms and conditions.

Search Form
%d bloggers like this: