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Maternal/Material Instinct

Posted on: Monday, February 25, 2008

I have been thinking a lot recently about the term 'maternal instinct', possibly because folks have been wondering how I do what I do as an artist, mother of twins, and weekly writer for Inhabitat. I sincerely understand their concern and questioning, but these comments are also upsetting on some level, as it leads one to scrutinize, perhaps too much, whether one is devoting as much attention as one should to dedicated baby care.

All I can (humbly) say is that once you have children, you really do not question yourself at length about how time is carved up - perhaps because you are so immersed in 'the doing'. I think that I have a good balance presently (despite the blissful fatigue), and I generally feel as if each day is guided by instinct, both maternal and material. That is, when one is bound domestically to so many caregiving activities, one has a sense about how to allocate energy to what populates one's immediate surroundings.

I do not mean to suggest that there are not days when making things shifts to the side, but honestly, I am not consumed by the sacrifice that is implied by full-time motherhood vs. full-time art making. They simply keep overlapping and layering in new and interesting ways. There is an ecology of sorts that naturally occurs, and a new appreciation for every scrap and loose thread in one's life. The formula is open-ended and totally symbiotic.

Above images are collages in progress (Abigail Doan, February 2008)


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