If you asked me I would tell you that I am not an artist. One of the great frustrations of my childhood was that all of my siblings could draw (several of them really well) but I never could translate what I saw in my head onto paper. When I was teaching geometry I used to get the students to draw the cubes and such for me as I just cannot do it.
I have similar problems with home decorating. I can look at pictures and tell you that I like this or that, but when I try it myself it just looks ridiculous. That’s why the only things on my walls are clocks, whiteboards and bookshelves. I got an artist friend of mine to put the china into the china cabinet for me, I knew he would be able to get everything in there without it looking crowded.
I think that surrounding the children and ourselves with things that look nice and reflect the beauty in the world is important though so I have chosen a few things to try to do regularly.
Set the table: It is so much easier to use the melamine dishes, just put them on the bare table, five minutes before we sit down to eat. But eating is one of the things that we do together as a family. It should be more than a quick sitting down and eating to keep us fueled up and ready to go on to the next thing. I try to use place-mats and serving dishes instead of pots.
Keep surface clear: This is a hard one. I’m a terrible “piler” anyway but add to that that I’m often interrupted and need a place to just stick something. Sometimes things don’t get picked up again for several days and the piles get higher. I’m trying to get into a habit of clearing surfaces everyday. Having things put away makes it possible to do more interesting things.
Making the beds: OK I was taught to make my bed everyday as a child. I quit years ago. Why bother when you’re going to mess it back up again in 12 hours or less? Here’s the thing though- the children keep their room much neater when the bed is made. So we’ve started making their beds and if I’m going to require it of them I better do it myself.
Now how is this art? It’s not if you think of art only as the making of decorative or thought-provoking objects. Art is much more than that though. Art is the way that we interact with our world, we look around us create places and spaces that fulfill our needs for shelter but also nourish our souls. We learn about ourselves and we learn that we need cleared surfaces in order to be more relaxed and mentally healthy. We learn about our children and friends and learn that this one will feel nourished and special by being given a cup of tea, but that one needs to go for a vigorous walk without even saving enough breath for conversation. This is the art of the house- to make our homes places where we and those we interact with can be safe, loved and nourished, equipped for whatever life may bring when they step outside the door.