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“I would define ‘hidden art’ as the art found in the ordinary areas of everyday life. Each person has, I believe, some talent which is unfulfilled in some hidden area of his being — a talent which could be expressed and developed.”
-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

When I first read The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by Edith Schaeffer, I was intrigued. I’ve never been one of the people who believes that being at home stifles your development and creativity, but this book really opened my eyes to just how rich everyday life at home can be. It’s not a “how-to” book as much as a philosophical book. Mrs. Schaeffer works from the premise that we, created in God’s image, have an inborn need to create, and shows what that can look like — and why you don’t need to be a “professional” artist, writer or musician to fulfill that need. In fact, we’re often more fulfilled if we incorporate our creativity into whatever sphere God has us in.  And for a lot of us, that’s homemaking, whether in our own homes (as wives) or our parents’ homes.

It’s not a “how-to” book as much as a philosophical book. Mrs. Schaeffer works from the premise that we, created in God’s image, have an inborn need to create, and shows what that can look like — and why you don’t need to be a “professional” artist, writer, or musician to fulfill that need. In fact, she argues that we’re often more fulfilled if we incorporate our creativity into whatever sphere God has us in.  And for a lot of us, that’s homemaking, whether in our own homes (as wives) or our parents’ homes.

“First of all, be satisfied with the fact that although your art or talent may never be accepted by the world as anything ‘great’, and may never be your career, it can be used to enrich your day by day life: enrich it for you, and for the people with whom you live. And secondly, come to a recognition of the fact that is is important for you to be creative in this area to the extent of your talent: important for you as a person who is a creative creature.”
-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

The topics covered in The Hidden Art of Homemaking include music, painting, writing, and drama. Those are, perhaps, to be expected (although her ideas are uniquely do-able!), but my favorites are less common: food, interior decoration, gardening, clothing, and creative recreation.

“Interior Decoration, as I intimated before, is not just one’s artistic efforts, but is that which your home (even if it is just a room) is. If you are ‘decorating’ with clothes draped on every chair, with scratched or broken furniture — it is still your interior decoration! Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start. You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not.”
-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of HomemakingYour home expresses you to other people. (Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking)

“Food should be chosen for nutritive values, of course, but also to give variety and interest to meals. Food should be chosen to give pleasure, and to cheer up people after a hard day’s work, to comfort them when they feel down for some reason, to amuse them when things seem a bit dull, or to open up conversation when they feel silent and uncommunicative.”
-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

I recently re-read The Hidden Art of Homemaking and found it even better than I remembered. What really stood out to me was the “holistic” tone of the book: that everything we do is a reflection of Who God is, since we are created in His image. Whether we are planting a garden, reading aloud, or cooking dinner, we can do it to the glory of God, and The Hidden Art of Homemaking helps us look at that idea from a new angle. Life is beautiful, God’s world is amazingly diverse… let’s celebrate it!


2 Comments

  1. I was given that book for Christmas and it seems so interesting to me. It is exciting to think that I can honour God through little things every day rather than needing to succeed at huge and public challenges.

    It just seems like a lovely idea to make your home that little bit more beautiful. Plus the extra effort it takes to make a special meal or to arrange pretty flowers shows your family that you care for them.

  2. I’ve often pondered the spine of this book as I scan my mother’s bedroom bookcase, but this review makes me definitely want to borrow it for myself!

    Thank you, Jeannie!

    Everly

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