BadAss HERStory at MODA


by Janelle Miniter, Exhibition Manager at MODA

At MODA, we believe that design inspires change, transforms lives, and makes the world a better place. Not only do our exhibitions celebrate this, but we invite our visitors to actively design change by participating in interactive activities in our exhibits.

During our summer 2018 exhibition, Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism, MODA showcased how designers, artists, activists, creative thinkers, and many others across the nation are using soft materials to tackle difficult issues. One of the participants featured in the exhibition was Shannon Downey better known as Badass Cross Stitch, whose work became nationally recognized after Vogue highlighted her “Boys will be Boys held accountable for their f__ing actions” embroidery in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein trial.


Shannon’s most ambitious project, Badass HERstory, was featured in Making Change not only as a piece but as an interactive. Shannon and MODA invited exhibitions visitors to sit down and embroider a 12” x 12” square telling their stories and showcasing causes about which they are passionate. Over 140 embroideries were created during the exhibition— all beautifully crafted and addressing a multitude of experiences. Some of the experiences documented included: gender identity, women’s experience in the workplace, and forced mutilation.

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Although MODA’s exhibition is no longer on view, these embroideries will live on alongside Basdass HERstory embroideries being created across the globe and sent to Shannon. As more and more stories are amassed, Shannon will build a team to create large-scale 3-D structures, stitch contributors’ stories together, and use them to skin these structures, creating a massive installation! As Shannon describes, the structures will be analog artifacts. In addition, there will be an online gallery and every piece will be displayed. That will be the digital artifact.

Badass HERstory is ongoing and if you would like to share your story and contribute to this massive global craftivist project you can submit them to Shannon directly. Instructions to do so are provided on her website.

Museum of Design Atlanta