The Japanese word, zakka, means “household goods.” It specifically refers to hand-sewn items for domestic use. Most of the zakka items I’ve seen thus far have been charming and functional as well as pleasing to the eye.
Zakka projects or items are inspiring to me for several reasons. For one thing this genre speaks to me of simpler times and reminds me of domestic items common to households in the generation I grew up in. They also remind me that I can create these kind of items without patterns and by just using my own likes, ideas, and available resources. In other words, zakka style is something that is inside of me – inside of all of us. It’s an inner drive to create something beautiful and enhance our space in this world.
Many years ago, I somehow acquired a book called “The Hidden Art of Homemaking.” As zakka is gaining in popularity, I cannot help but remember and reflect on the similar ideas in the book by Edith Schaeffer. She was promoting zakka before the term was born.
Mrs. Schaeffer sees beauty and art in all of life and believes that we all have talent even though we may not all be artists or musicians. We all have something to contribute to make our world beautiful and all of those “talents” are G-d given, beautiful, and valuable. The book is inspiring to say the least.
Instead of using photographs to illustrate her book, Mrs. Schaeffer fills the pages with her own lovely, pencil sketches. I do not consider myself an artist but the pictures make me want to grab a pencil and put it to paper. The chapter on flower arranging inspires me to plant a garden and the chapter on quilting….. well, you get the idea.
The amazon website advertises this book with the statement,
The author reveals the many opportunities for artistic expression that can be found in ordinary, everyday life.
Does that sound like zakka or what? No wonder zakka resonated with me when I first laid eyes on these items/patterns and began exploring what was drawing me to them.
I believe the draw to zakka is popular right now because of the crazy, convoluted world we live in. Speaking for myself here, I want to go back to a time when life revolved around family and home. Call it simplicity if you will; but don’t mistake that adjective as negative or unappealing. I find it beautiful and something to covet without guilt.
In the words of a Calgon commercial: “Zakka…..take me away.”