Art for housewives

by EcoStreet on February 21, 2008

in EcoArt

I’ve long been an admirer of Cynthia Korzekwa’s blog “art for housewives”. The idea behind Cynthia’s art (and blog) is the recycling of household items into art. She uses what many would consider to be rubbish to frame her work, or to inspire it, or to be the canvas for her unique paintings. All of her pieces of art have a special spirit that is carried forward from the items that they are recycled from, making them far more interesting than regularly framed art on a regular canvas.


The book

Cynthia has recently published the book, ARTE PER MASSAIE (art for housewives), in which her unmistakable illustrations are combined with handwritten text in folkloric Italian (and followed by, as Cynthia puts it: “…a less folkloric English translation.”) The book is about making art, not trash (a recurring theme in Cynthia’s work) and includes projects for recycling household rubbish into art. The book is a paperback, printed on 100% recycled paper and is available for sale via Etsy.


The art

After reading the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity in 1992, Cynthia set herself the task to “make art, not trash” using second-hand materials. Applying the concepts of bricolage to her art, she discovered that what was happening was a sort of evolution. Rubbish evolved into art.


What’s the relevance of housewives and art?

For centuries, housewives have been at the centre of the art of keeping homes, creating clothes for their families and artful objects for their homes. Housewives have in the past, and in some cases still do, turned the things that they touch into art during the course of their daily work. Take the women of Rana Tharu in Nepal for example. They’ve been dressing themselves in beautiful embroidered garments, making pots for grain storage, ornately plastering the family home and weaving delicate fishnets since settling in the Tarai in the 16th century. They still do this today. And while in the west many housewives have lost the crafts of their ancestors, Cynthia has brought back to life the spirit of the housewife creating works of art for her home, from what she has at her disposal. And by recycling the junk that would otherwise just end up being trucked to the nearest landfill, and evolving it into this new (and yet old) art, housewives can play an important role in protecting the planet.

Here’s what Cynthia has to say about housewives as recyclers:
“Waste not, want not. Women were the first real recyclers. True bricoleurs. Like making omelettes using leftovers, like making quilts from scraps. But today, we consume more and, in the process, waste more. We all create massive amounts of trash every day. And most of it ends up in ugly landfill sites. However, much of this household waste could be reduced, reused or recycled. All it takes is just a little imagination.”


The woman behind the art

Cynthia Korzekwa was born in Texas where she grew up under the wing of the family’s Mexican housekeeper, Fela. With a bean taco in one hand and a pencil in the other, Cynthia drew whenever and wherever she could, but felt stifled by the rules that were imposed on her creativity, like having to draw margins on a page, keeping within the lines and not putting pink next to red. As she grew up, she discovered that she didn’t have to live within these stifling rules, and she effloresced into an artist that the rules no longer had any hold over. Cynthia now lives and works in Rome, Italy.


More Cynthia Korzekwa

art for housewives – the blog
Cynthia Korzekwa – Cynthia, her life and her art

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby Re-Usable February 22, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Cynthia K is my HERO, this is such a great article about her and her blog, she really is an inspiration, I check out Art for Housewives everyday! love, etc Ruby


Rodrigo Machado August 12, 2010 at 10:02 pm

your work looks good !! gratulations !!


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