EPISODE TWENTY SIX :: Shannon Downey of Badass Cross Stitch - Subversive Embroidery, Craftivism & Processing through Stitching

Photo by Gloria Araya

Photo by Gloria Araya

The Close Knit podcast showcases artists, designers, and makers from all over the world who work with fibre in its many forms. Knitters, spinners, sewers, textile artists - all will be celebrated on the Close Knit podcast.

In Episode 26 of the Close Knit Podcast, I spoke toShannon Downey of Badass Cross stitch. Shannon is a subversive cross stitcher and weaver based in Chicago. We cover some really incredible topics in this episode. Shannon explains how she sees her role in craftivism and the role of craftivism at large. She walks me through her process of creating Feminist War Flags, and tells us about a project on gun violence that prompted her to create an incredible fundraiser for an arts therapy project in Chicago. 

A huge thank you to this week's episode sponsor: Phaedra Clothing.

Phaedra Clothing seeks a balance between elegance of form and functionality. The collection is inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design which combines attention to detail with practical, every day wear. To Phaedra, a garment is a narrative, a piece that changes over time. The linen becomes softer and more supple, the colours lighten subtly, a piece becomes imbued with memories; signifying a long and happy relationship between garment and wearer. You can find Phaedra Clothing on Etsy and on instagram as @phaedraclothing

Thanks again to Phaedra for sponsoring this episode of the Close Knit Podcast! 

Shannon learnt to weave 4 years ago, and her grandmother was a master weaver, who wove at The Lowell Mill - the first industrial place that women were allowed to work (!) 

For Shannon, the act of stitching is a way for her to process. After a major shooting in the US, she found herself stitching a gun. She then called out for people to stitch them and send them to her. Eventually, she gathered these pieces to make an auction to sell for Project Fire, and once they had a project they were funding, the art just started pouring in). In the end, the fundraiser took in around $6000 to help keep that program going. 

Shannon's biggest bit of advice: (note I didn't actually ask this question, but she did give some great craftivism advice)

"[for a craftivism project] give a hard deadline, with 2 weeks in between the hard deadline and the moment [of action, ie the auction]... give people a lot of lead time" 

People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:

Find Shannon: website instagram 

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