Shannon Downey


Tangled, 48 x 36 x 24 in., Floss and watercolor on cotton and soft tulle

As a female identified leader in a predominantly male dominated business sector, I struggle to connect, to be heard and seen as whole. I find hope in the intentional connections that I make with other women leaders.

I work to bring attention to these people through my blog, Seriously Badass Women. It is a platform to not only showcase their business successes but as a way to showcase their wholeness as people. I am often turned down by women who don’t feel they deserve to be included on the blog each voicing disbelief in their worthiness.

Tangled is commentary on these perceptions of self and other, inviting hope in spite of a messy complexity. Tangled consists of a crude quilt comprised of the hand– embroidered faces of the women from my blog. Each one is meant to emote a sense of incompleteness– parts and pieces but never a whole person. The faces, an unsettling mix of woman, doll, princess or villain all connected by their bright red lips, their words, their power.

The piece is then obscured with a transparent veil that is hand-embroidered with the various rationales that women have presented me when turning down my offer to be included on the blog. Embroidery, historically being considered women’s work and taught as a step towards preparing girls for a life of domesticity feels subversive in this application.

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