Friday, January 9, 2009

Nesting is...Creating

I wanted to linger a bit on an idea I wrote about yesterday, which is that domesticity and nesting are creative endeavors.  Now I realize that most people probably don't see it that way initially.  I mean, when we are busy with work and errands and social obligations, the "domestic" stuff we do for home tends to be the most immediate, which unfortunately is also the most boring.  Like washing dishes and doing laundry and frantically cleaning out that embarrassing ring in the toilet before guests come over.  But given the benefit of time, domesticity can really, genuinely creative.

I think that I first noticed the creative potential of home when I was working 9-5, and busy, and exhausted.  I'd come home on the weekends and decompress by thumbing through design magazines and buying fabric to make new throw pillows and perpetually changing my linens.  It was my attempt to balance out the blandness of corporate work with some dash of creative inspiration.  And though my affection was for home design, I've seen others apply the same principle with cooking or gardening or hosting.

The thing about our modern society is that most of what we do at home that is creative is no longer necessary (another great point that Jane Brocket makes).  What used to occupy hours and hours of women's creative energy--things like knitting and needlepoint and quilting--are not required by today's modern female.  Target, for instance, can churn out aisles of beautiful garments, accessories and housewares quicker than we can make them and for a fraction of the cost.

This truth, however, makes me a little sad, because all of that creative energy that was once invested in making things is now invested in consuming them.  Why bake bread when you can buy a loaf for pennies at the store?  Why cook dinner when take-out is easier?  Why knit socks or a hat when Wal-Mart sells them cheaper?

While I would be hard pressed to stand in front of a crowd and proclaim that domesticity is noble, I will say that the creative practices of cooking and gardening and knitting and quilting do promote some needed virtues in our time.  For instance, they close the gap between producer and consumer, making us more sensitive to the true costs of money and time that go into our day-to-day goods.  Domestic creativity also promotes uniqueness and quality--two traits that have fallen on rough times of late.  Furthermore, creativity--especially the run-of-the-mill domestic variety--promotes resourcefulness and problem solving, which are invaluable in any era, but particularly useful in ours.

I promise that I'll now climb down from my domestic soapbox--it is a Friday after all--and leave you to enjoy the rest of your day and weekend.  But my hope is that you might enjoy it with some domestic creativity of your own.

Don't forget to join me tomorrow as I revive the Saturday Sussie after its brief hiatus, and highlight something fancy and frivolous just for fun (no soapboxes allowed).  And of course I invite you to come back next week for some more Nesting.

Previous Nesting Posts:
My Domestic Renaissance

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