In previous posts here on Diverse Philosophies I’ve discussed my views on traditional roles of women in society and the detrimental impact of the modern “career woman” role on families today.
One area I haven’t touched on in reference to modern roles, is the dying art of housewifery – more than the ability to cook and clean, but proficiency in other tasks that were once a necessary part of creating a pleasant and healthy home and life for the family. Knitting and sewing garments and household linens as well as cooking and baking foods that are not only nutritious, but also pleasing to the eye and palate are some tasks that come to mind. Interestingly, many of these skills still live on in our modern society of store bought sundries and restaurant or store-prepared meals – as hobbies.
I believe each and every human being has a need for a creative outlet. Some search for their ideal creative niche, some dabble in various fields of creativity, and some just know instinctively which is the perfect creative outlet for them. I tend to be a bit of a dabbler myself. I greatly enjoy many different creative activities – including drawing, knitting, amateur photography, cooking and baking.
I come from a very creative and artistic family. My family includes a professional photographer, a professional artist who produces wonders with just paper and pencil or oil on canvas portraits as well as seamless crochet garments, a skilled seamstress who once made for me a perfect reproduction of a gown from the American Colonial era, a jewelry maker, a scrapbooker, a couple of writers… and a potential actress make up the rest of my relatives.
As previously mentioned, I aspired to a career as a housewife from early childhood. In line with my juvenile aspirations, I learned to cook at an early age, under my mother’s supervision. As I got older, I discovered that I had a talent for learning by watching and/or reading. A cookbook that I received as a gift led to me honing my skills as a cook and baker – not up to par with a professional chef, but definitely quite adequate for a housewife. I took up quilting, and learned basic knitting from an encyclopedia. Sadly, now that I am a grown woman and a wife, I have little time to pursue these interests that should be my full-time occupation, due to being obligated to work outside of the home. The necessity for two incomes has shattered the dream I once aspired to.
Never one to accept defeat with facility, I still devote some of my free time to these arts of housewifery – now considered hobbies by most. Here are some of my exploits in knitting:
I’ve been fortunate enough to make some extra cash by selling some items I’ve knitted. I take custom orders and requests for specially designed items. The best part? I enjoy the entire process, from design to delivery. I equally enjoy cooking and baking and trying new recipes or improving on old favorites.
I’ve even tried my hand at soap making.
The above “hobbies” were once parts of the traditional housewife role throughout much of history. They have come to be classified as hobbies because they are no longer a necessary part of homemaking. Garments, knitted or otherwise, can be bought ready-made at a variety of retailers. Likewise, food can be purchased in various stages of preparation – from raw ingredients to fully cooked meals and desserts. Cooking and baking from “scratch” has definitely become a dying art amongst the masses of the Western world. The biggest reason for this is women in the workplace. It is next to impossible to hold down a job and have the time to cook a healthy homemade dinner every evening. But let’s get back to hobbies.
There are many other avenues of creative expression that can more accurately be described as hobbies. Some that I enjoy include drawing or doodling:
Photography and photo editing with a touch of the poetic:
Note: The above images are my property and may not be used without my permission.
Interestingly, whenever I knit in public I am asked whether I am an expectant mother. It seems that despite modern gender roles, in the general consciousness knitting and similar activities are associated with wives and mothers. Hmm. Conversely, when I make my “famous” brownies from scratch, I am often greeted with incredulity upon the discovery that they did not come from a box, but that I actually mixed together the separate raw ingredients and baked them. It’s a confusing society we live in, isn’t it?
If you are interested in custom handknitted items or would like to view more samples of my work, please visit my Facebook page.