The Artful Home

23 Apr 2008

I am reading a book at the moment called Creating the Artful Home - The Aesthetic Movement by Karen Zukowski. I am reading it very slowly because I can only give it little islands of attention here and there.

The Aesthetic Movement seems to have occurred in tandem and as an off shoot from the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century. But where the Arts and Crafts Movement sought to bring beauty to the masses and so elevate the quality of life for all the Aesthetics developed to be more exclusive and available only to those with enough money to pay for the exquisite creations.

The book, however, emphasises the trend amongst a certain group of middle class people especially women who sought to live an artful life and achieved this partly through the way they designed and decorated their homes, the way they dressed and the way they raised their children. It seems they were open to enriching their lives by living "artfully", making and buying beautiful handmade artifacts for their homes and lives and appreciating the extra dimension that this "artfulness" could give their lives.

The paintings here are by Maria Oakey Dewing who was a part of this movement . She also seems to have written one or two books , one called Beauty in the Household. The following quote was taken from this book and included in Karen Zukowski's work.

"It will be only when we believe it quite unnecessary to emulate our neighbours, and wholly interesting to make our own little plan of life complete in itself and true to its laws, that we shall attain the ease and beauty that make an atmosphere in which the mind and heart may expand, instead of wearing themselves smaller and smaller against the friction of sordid striving."

That's pretty good isn't it.

Oh and click on the paintings to get a better look, they are beautiful.

5 Responses to “The Artful Home”

  1. I have always loved the domestic arts from the turn of the last century. I like what women photographers, artists, and writers were trying to accomplish in their homes. I actually wrote a book on it back in my pre-kid days!

  2. I love the quote, especially the "senseless striving" bit. I think that applies to modern householders. Sometimes homes are very soulless simply because they are pristine, fashionable and well-designed...a kind of desperate conformity of taste. I like homes which say something about the people who live there...where you can a real sense of creativity.

  3. Hi Sarah, you have written a book about domestic arts, how exciting .I would love to read it.

  4. Hi Dulce, I'm so glad you like the quote.I especially like the " wearing themselves smaller and smaller against the friction of sordid striving" part. The idea of the heart and mind becoming smaller as the home improvements and acquisitions grow.

  5. Hi Jenny,
    "sordid striving" sounds nasty! I like to think I have not indulged in too much of that.

    After a recent foray at the ABC shop (a weakness of mine) I have watched 'Housewife 49'. Seemed to take a similar view of Mr. Last to you.


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