The art of living

bread cyanotype

For some time now I have been making art that often highlights domestic themes, like washing dishes, sewing, making food, etc. I’ve always had a hard time articulating what it is about these themes that is so attractive to me; I often think that it is simply a fascination with the idea of the art of living–making your home, your food, your clothes reflect something about you and your aesthetic. I also tend to romanticize a “simpler life” in which, with fewer distractions, one could take time to make most of the things that they need with care, and in the traditions passed down to them by their families (although I know that in many cases life before industry was very hard, so “simpler” may not really be an accurate description). And then there’s also the idea of “women’s work,” things like embroidery, knitting, or lacework, that were once so common and distinctive from place to place. I guess it’s a combination of the work itself and the history and culture that it comes from that is so interesting to me. I wanted to share some ideas/projects that I’m working on related to these ideas, and also some that I have seen recently that are really inspiring.

The cyanotype here is sort of a study for a painting I’d like to do–I found a stereogram years ago of soldiers during World War II making bread in large outdoor ovens and hauling it off to the troops. I haven’t been able to find the photo again, but the image was really interesting so Im working on creating it from a series of other photos. This was one.

Last week I heard about the artist Nava Lubelski through a blog called all things paper–her work sort of plays on this theme and was very inspiring for me. Here’s one of her pieces. Check out this video about her work.    My new goal is to learn to do some embroidery/lacework. I keep drawing it, and i guess the logical step would be to learn to make it, which could add to my work in a variety of ways.


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