Innocence Splintered


My “Innocence Splintered” series is a continuation of the internal dialogue I have carried on with myself my whole life, and the one I began to make more public while working on my Strange Diary series. That fall, my son, Evan, broke a skateboard and left it propped up in the basement near the stairs I travel nearly every day to do laundry. I kept looking at it, intrigued by the shapes created when the board broke and the underlying layers of paint, wondering if the surface would work for collage. I carried half a deck up to my studio one day and began playing with images and glue. It worked, and I was hooked.

The juxtaposition of the splintered pieces of skate deck, the layers of wood and paint, the stickers or images on the original decks themselves, and my handcut paper collages are a metaphor for motherhood. They represent the many layers of conversation I have had with my sons from the time they first noticed the differences between our bodies, through puberty, until now as they face new and growing challenges in a world where so much of their information is gathered from social media. I continue to have conversations with them when they’re open to listening and in between, I make collages in order to say all that I am thinking. These are the images of motherhood I am painstakingly creating and accumulating.

Good mothering is not measurable in a discrete instant, in an hour spent rubbing a baby’s gassy belly, in the braiding of a tangled mass of morning hair. Good mothering is a long term pattern, a lifelong trend of behaviors most of which go unobserved at the time by anyone, least of all the mother herself. We do not judge mothers by snapshots but by years of images painstakingly accumulated from the orbiting satellite of memory.
— Michael Chabon