I discovered Badass Cross Stitch while browsing around on Instagram and I was immediately drawn to the photos. I got to know the creator, Shannon Downey, a bit more and that’s when I saw these AMAZING thread organizers she was creating and I was like, Subversive peeps need to know about this! I love them so much I’m selling them here on my site! Then I saw Shannon post photos of a train trip to cross stitch in the Montana wilderness (tagging it #ExtremeStitching and #ExtremeCrossStitching) and I was all, Okay, I seriously need to share this and NOW. So here we go:
Shannon, where did you come from and what are you all about (where have you been all my life)?
I’m a Boston native who gets uncomfortable being in one spot for too long so basically I move and travel all the time. I have called Chicago home base for the last 9 years. I started a marketing company nearly 8 years ago and spend my days creating marketing strategies for companies, organizations and nonprofits that are creating positive social change. I am a faculty member at DePaul University and an advisor for the soon-to-be-open Geek Bar in Chicago. I like to be involved in pretty much anything that is fun, geeky, crafty or focused on social good.
How did you get into cross stitch?
With all of the digital work that I do, I started to really crave some analog creative outlets so a few years ago I went hard at cross stitching (and some other fiber arts). It is feeding my soul and now I’m working on turning it into a much larger portion of my life.
I learned to cross stitch in 5th grade. I didn’t do much with it until I stumbled upon a killer Walking Dead pattern on Etsy by You Make Me Sew Happy. I started stitching one character a week while I watched the show. Then I couldn’t stop. I was stitching custom portraits of my friends, creating patterns, teaching classes and inventing products to stitch on. It’s now gone to full on obsession. I have a lot in the works. I’m in love with the stitching community that exists online.
Tell us about your #ExtremeStitching posts.
Extreme stitching just happened. I was in Montana on vacation and had spent 30 hours on a train drinking bourbon and stitching. Several times some older ladies walked by me and commented that they didn’t know how I could possibly stitch on the train because of how bumpy it was. Someone said the word extreme and it was game on. So I brought my cross stitching everywhere I went that week. Hiking, kayaking, climbing, etc. It was really just for my own amusement but now I totally want to make it a thing. I want everyone to be #ExtremeStitching. Really, I just think it’s fun to fuck with the perception that needle arts are old fashioned (Much like you and your community does!).
I couldn’t agree more.
And if you’re in Chicago, you can go see Shannon’s work in a show October 10th.