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Bonnie J. Smith is a self taught international artist with a strong emphasis in textiles. Her work is about what she sees and knows.


Smith created the award winning textile installation “Swimming Upstream” that is about her suffering a life changing injury that confined her to a wheel chair. Once secure in the knowledge she would recover Bonnie created the 12 piece “Swimming Upstream” textile series that became not just her story but of others also trying to swim upstream through life. The series has now traveled to the United Kingdom and across the United States.

Smith’s work is in the permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and numerous private collections.


Smith conceptualized and curated “Forming Our Lives”, at the SJMQ&T, San Jose, CA. Her work has been exhibited at many of the United Nations Headquarters around the globe as well as having her own featured exhibit at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham in 2017. In 2020 she was featured at the Festival of Quilts Birmingham virtual quilt exhibit in the Dynamic Gallery’s by invitation telling her story of living through the drought in Northern California.

Smith is a recipient of the prestigious Leigh Weimer’s Award and grant in San Jose, California and author of “Swimming Upstream a Memoir”, 2013.


Smith authored and conceptualized the project “She Votes” which gives voice to *sixty nine artist and over one hundred thirteen pieces of original art that celebrate the Anniversary of the 19 Amendment. Smith presented her idea to the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art Board of which she is a member. With the Board’s approval she was off and running.

The project is significant in that it was created during the 2020 election cycle for President of the United States of which Joe Biden Jr. was elected. Kamala Devi Harris became the first woman to win the elected position of Vice President. To have this event happen in the Centennial of the 19 Amendment brings great significance to the “She Votes” book.


*To all of the Women’s Caucus for Art members who participated I owe a big thank you for helping me see this project through.

Traveling thru life I sometimes need to be tethered to something. Fiber Art, Textiles, Art, Swimming