My grandma showed me how to make my first pom pom. We cut two doughnut-shaped templates out of cardboard and spent hours carefully threading the wool through the hole. Cutting the pom pom open revealed our time together, in soft coloured layers.
Pom poms are made with our hands. This gentle winding of materials can slow down time; place you in the room with those you love. Your body learns the movements, and the repetition reminds you that you are here, in this moment. Safe.
I started making pom poms again when my partner first got sick. I wasn’t prepared for the medical world with its sharp, intrusive edges. This childhood craft became our soft armour. After Steve died, time changed. Days felt endless but were gone in moments. Making pom poms became a way of tracking the hours.
Grief taught me that my body is mostly liquid. Sadness leaves in waves. Tears. During the early days, a package arrived from my four-year-old niece. It was a single tissue. She had sat quietly at her family’s kitchen table, carefully picking out the embossed pattern with a pink texta. Soft Symmetry takes this now visible profile and renders it in pom poms. A large-scale tracing of love and loss.