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Life is comprised of circles. Circles intersect, they overlap, they spin in a rhythm that keep us in motion and in time. I am but a hula hoop, using a dizzying momentum to keep me afloat.


We inhabit spheres. Spheres of influence, and cosmic spheres. Harmonic spheres, economic spheres. Biospheres, hydrospheres, atmospheres. The earth is a sphere, according to some.


Cycles repeat. The washing machine makes a loud thrashing when it gets off balance, am I any different?  Time to rearrange the load.


I am just an echo, a concentric circle on the water’s surface, a tree ring in the forest of humanity. My tears are raindrops in the ocean.  I am waiting for a whale to drink me up.


I can make a dress from scratch, in the same way i was shown. But many of the other lessons are useless to me now. The fabric cutter works the same as a pizza cutter, and I laugh to myself.   


I am the same box of cheap hair dye as my mother. I am the snot stain in the most delicate of handkerchiefs. Try as they might, the vulgarity of my humanity cannot be diminished. 


Somebody will remember me after I'm gone, I'm sure of it.  And if not, I made art to prove I was alive.  Gotta leave something decent in the time capsule.

Soft Armor, the title of this series, refers to an aspect of my upbringing in which the matriarchs of my family taught me to sew and craft in order to prepare me for the perils of life. This now tacit knowledge has been a way for me to adapt in times of uncertainty, whether it be economic, emotional, political or environmental. I liken it to armor because it serves as an actual form of protection, aiding in my adaptability, resilience and resourcefulness. It also is a metaphorical armor; whether I am wearing handmade clothing or sleeping beneath a hand-quilted comforter, I can feel the energetic protection, care, and connection which the maker instilled in the piece.

Jess Bonin is a queer interdisciplinary artist, situated on the unceded ancestral home of the Coast Salish and Lummi Nation people.

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