Reviews of Homeward Bound

“3.5 out of 4 stars” - People Magazine                                                               “The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. Matchar synthesizes dozens of trend stories … into a single, compelling narrative about the resurgence of domesticity….Refreshing.” -The New Republic                                                       "[P]rovocatively explores what the movement says about the role of women in society today.” – The New Yorker                                                                       "I unreservedly loved it…It’s empathetic and funny and thoughtful and smart, and I encourage all of you to read it."– The Hairpin                                                         “Cogently argues that choosing a more hands-on, DIY lifestyle – family farming, canning, crafting, can, without sacrificing feminism’s hard-won gains, improve on an earlier time when ‘people lived more lightly on the earth and relied less on corporations, and family and community came first.’” - ELLE                                                               “[I]ntelligent and insightful...essential reading.” - Christianity Today                                                       “A lively and perceptive reporter… a valuable and astute assessment.”—Publishers Weekly                                                         “A well-researched look at the resurgence of home life…. Offers intriguing insight into the renaissance of old-fashioned home traditions.”— Kirkus Reviews

What is New Domesticity?

This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?                                                                                     My book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, which explores New Domesticity in greater depth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2013.

Follow me on Twitter!

I wanna major in blacksmithing!

Spinning at North House Folk School

As the self-sufficiency/DIY phenomenon grows, a number of “folk schools” teaching old-fashioned, nearly lost domestic and homesteading skills are springing up around the country. Writing in Grist, Lori Rotenberk looks at the rise of the folk school movement:

But now, a growing interest in sustainability and the rise of craft and DIY culture, as well as unease with the current course of the economy and climate, are drawing people back into the folksy classroom.

“There’s a level of uncertainty about what the future holds for us as a society,” says Kyle Lind, a 27-year-old college graduate who recently started a 10-month internship at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. “Oil and food prices are on the rise. The cost of electricity and heat are skyrocketing. More and more people are realizing they have to know how to do for themselves.”

At Driftless Folk School in rural Wisconsin, you can learn to make cheese, butcher a deer, make a broom, build a solar cooker or forge a knife. At the Folk School of Fairbanks, Alaska, you can learn to build a canoe, make children’s toys, and weave. At North House Folk School in Northern Minnesota, you can learn to sew Scandinavian-style work shirts, learn to grow your own fruit orchard, make herbal medicine and build your own sauna (yes, please!).

[The organizers of the folk schools] see the movement as more of an awakening, an awareness that we’ve drifted a bit too far from nature. Not as doe-eyed as their earlier ’60s counterparts, they know the world won’t become one happy commune. Still, they point to a budding homesteading movement in both urban and rural areas as evidence that these ideas are gaining traction.

I’m gonna guess we’ll be hearing a lot more about these folk schools in the near future. Is this something you guys have heard of?

4 comments to I wanna major in blacksmithing!

  • These aren’t new folk schools–they’ve both been around since the 1920′s–but you know about the John C. Campbell Folk School and the Penland School of Crafts, both in Western NC? You should take a research trip out there!

  • Emily

    Yes! I’ve head friends who went to Penland. Man, do I miss the NC mountains!

  • You probably know the North Bennett Street School in the North End in Boston – but again, it’s not new. In fact I think it’s over a century old. How about a major in bookbinding?

    • Emily

      I didn’t know that one, thanks! Book binding – OMG, that used to be my fantasy job, back when I was a kid and wanted to spend all my time in the library. It still sounds pretty friggin awesome.