Home is Your Canvas: An Edith Schaeffer Book Review

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Maybe you’ve heard of the tortured artist. A frustrated and alienated character (also, real-life person) who feels like no one gets him or his art.  Edith Schaeffer, in her book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking addresses this type of person. The book is aimed towards women in the home, but at times also men.

Before you run and hide for cover at the word homemaking, know that Schaeffer is not trying to add another ball for you to juggle in life, but opening our eyes to the importance of beauty and order. Schaeffer shows us that homemaking is not drudgery, but a blank canvas for us to express ourselves. Art doesn’t just have to be framed paintings hanging on our walls; it can be a colorfully arranged plate of food for dinner, fresh and thoughtfully arrayed flowers on a table, or a well designed book case display.

The Little Things Matter

Why should these little things matter to us around our homes? Schaeffer says it plain and simple: because we are Christians. She presents the case that we are creative, because we are made in the image of the Creator God. God is the originator of all art forms. So, Christians should be the prime advocates of art, creativity, and beauty.

“The Christian should have more vividly expressed creativity in his daily life, and have more creative freedom, as well as the possibility of a continuing development in creative activities.”

“But, not forgetting the above, then what I call ‘Hidden Art’ should be more important to one who knows and admits that he is made in God’s image, than to those who do not.”

Everyday Details

Schaeffer refers to hidden art, not in the way of a career or profession, but as the everyday details of one’s life. We should use our hidden art in our homes everyday as a way to enrich other people’s lives, and represent the beauty found in Christ. Each chapter in Schaeffer’s book explores different art forms and how we can express them in our homes; it’s a way to give ourselves (the tortured artist) an outlet, but also a way to enrich our families and guests.

“A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there.”

“If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.”

You don’t have to be a married woman to read this book, heck, you don’t even have to be a woman. You just need to be someone who has some kind of living space in which to exercise your art. Whatever you call home…that is your canvas!

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4 thoughts on “Home is Your Canvas: An Edith Schaeffer Book Review”

  1. I am absolutely going to buy this. I’ve recently started a small discussion group for artists and some of these “tortured artist” problems are exactly what we try to address. Can’t wait to devour this book.

    1. Oh wow! It would be perfect for that! It would really help artists who feel stuck or trapped…either at home or in a non-artistic job or career. It gives perspective to use your art where God has you right now.

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