The other day as I sat knitting away while waiting for a homemade Norwegian desert to come out of the oven, Thor commented, “People who don’t know you would never guess you are so domestic.” Watching my facial expression, he immediately realized he said something wrong.
Dictionary definitions of “domestic” include: (1) any household or family chore, (2) someone who likes household life and chores, (3) tame, (4) relating to the internal affairs of a country, or (5) a product indigenous to a certain country. When Thor called me “domestic,” I immediately thought of the first three definitions – quickly bringing to mind (1) June Cleaver’s well-coiffed juggling of vacuuming, making lunches and asking Ward what goes on in the minds of boys, or (2) Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Either one annoys me.
A chore is a routine, generally unpleasant, and necessary task. People don’t like doing chores. The only household chores either Thor or I do is a minimum amount of cleaning (e.g., vacuuming, bathroom scrubbing, floor washing). We wash linens weekly and (our own) clothes when there are no clean ones left hanging. I iron (my clothes) when absolutely necessary. My daughter has been after me for a couple of years to hire a housekeeper, but if Thor and I are fine with it (neither of us is a pig!) …
Admittedly, I do an array of ARTS that some people think of as “domestic”- knitting, weaving, dying, crocheting, sewing, etc. But remember the definition of chore: “a routine, generally unpleasant and necessary task.” I do not think that any of those skills is a “necessary task” thus they are not “domestic” skills either. They are, simply, ART and those who do them are ARTISTS.
Today’s blog started with a comment from Thor about cooking. Is cooking a domestic chore? Well, it’s less a chore than it used to be – given the array of pre-prepared foods and frozen/canned foods, not to mention the frequency with which people eat out. Let’s go back to the definition of chore: necessary, routine and generally unpleasant. My cooking is not necessary; Thor can cook for himself perfectly well (albeit boring and minimalist). My cooking is definitely not routine; I approach cooking in a rather eclectic manner, dashing out to the corner market to buy whatever it is I’m in the mood to cook. And it’s not an unpleasant experience; as Thor can attest, I sing and dance to big band vocalists while I cook.
I apply the same rule I use for who receives my fiber creations: I cook only for close friends and family. That way I ensure I am not angry, hurt or annoyed that a dish I specially prepared is bypassed for someone else’s Fritos and canned bean dip.
I am not domestic. Knitting, crocheting, sewing, dying, spinning and weaving (and even cooking!) are not domestic chores. Following and reading blogs of many fiber artists, I am always struck by their creativity, ingenuity and willingness to experiment. I learn from them every day!
Knitting is an art, and we are all artists. 🙂