book recommendation
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  1. #1
    Registered User forestdale's Avatar
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    Default book recommendation

    I rediscovered a book last week when I was dejunking my bookcase, I bought it in 1988, the bicentennial year in Australian. It's called "The Gentle Arts" and it was published then to honour the contribution women had made to the establishment of Australia. I bought it during a period when I was studying a lot about women and what they did. I guess I devalued the contribution of SAHMs then (I know, I'm an idiot ) and forgot about the book once I read it. But now it's a different story, I see it from a new perspective and it's full of amazing crafts, art and stories about what we women do to make family life such a good thing. I'm sure all you sewing and craft ladies would love it. It's full of wonderful colour photos of vintage crafts - everything from making lace to preserving.

    The chapters give a good overview of what's in the book. My summary of the chapters is in the brackets:

    Hearth and Home (home decorations)
    The Woman in the Garden (botanical diaries, planning gardens)
    The Flower Arts (flowered rugs, embroidery, ribbon work)
    Custom, Tradition and Necessity (keeping house, engagements and weddings)
    Nourishment and Necessity (presentation of food)
    Comfort and Warmth (quilting)
    White on White (lace)
    Plain and Fancy (sewing, doileys, samplers)
    Embroidery
    For a Higher Cause: Religious Arts (making vestments and lace for the church)
    'Our Bit': Women's Arts in Wartime (patriotic emblems and embroidery)
    Decorative Arts and the Home (greeting cards, beadwork, wood carving, leather, metalwork, pottery)
    Commemorating People and Events (quilts and embridery featuring world events)
    Sharing and Showing (canning and country fair cooking)

    I hope you can order a copy of this wonderful book from your library. The details are:

    The Gentle Arts
    200 years of Australian Women's Domestic and Decorative Arts
    by Jennifer Isaacs
    Lansdowne Press
    ISBN 0701819758

    When you get your copy, take it home, make a cup of tea, snuggle down in front of the fire or under a warm rug, and prepare to be amazed, comforted and affirmed.

  2. #2
    gkp1031's Avatar
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    wow, it sounds great

  3. #3
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    I'm going to look for it. It sounds great!

  4. #4
    Registered User forestdale's Avatar
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    I read some more of this book last night. There is a photo of a very pretty sampler called "Homemaking Sampler" which features Sunbonnet Sue, made in the 1930s.
    Sunbonnet Sue is embroidered doing various tasks and the text is:
    Monday - wash
    Tuesday - iron
    Wednesday - mend
    Thursday - market
    Friday - clean
    Saturday - bake
    Sunday - church.

    In the chapter on "Custom, Tradition and Necessity" there is a lovely section on - "Monday - Washing Day" It has painted clothes pegs, patchwork peg bags, a jumper (sweater) with a washing line and drying clothes on it, and a photo from the 19th century of a country woman hanging her laundry on a clothes line.

    Every page is a wonderful surprise in this book.

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    Sounds like it's chocked full of godd stuff! Gonna look for it. Thanks

  6. #6
    Registered User forestdale's Avatar
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    I read more last night. There is a section in the book about keeping flies off food and the crafts women made to keep flies away. We have changed a lot in the years since these ladies kept house. I doubt they'd recognise us as being Australian women now.

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