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Feminist Embroidery by Yes Stitch Yes

Interpreting rap lyrics and the internet for empowered sass

by Nara Shin
on 09 November 2015

A sarcastic Tweet disappears almost instantaneously these days, but a brazen embroidered message only gets louder with every look. Edginess and individuality have been elevating fine needlework from a quiet hobby to cultural relevance for some time, and we're especially enamored with what Yes Stitch Yes has been stitching onto hoops. The brainchild of Park Slope, Brooklyn resident Lauren Singleton, Yes Stitch Yes offers mantras to empower or to snicker at—sometimes on vintage fabric.

For those who are having a better time since Drake left town, Singleton has "Wearing Less and Going Out More," while "Not Yours / Never Was" celebrates the liberated you. Words from conceptual artist Jenny Holzer's series like "Truisms" challenge what we're being visually fed. Using white thread, Singleton even has some secret message hoops that hide provocative words within the flowers. There's just something delightfully subversive occurring when phrases like "Eat Shit" and "No Fuckboys" are written out in delicate cursive with floral embellishment.

"I started the shop with one rule: only make things I really love and would hang in my own apartment. That rule guides my pattern decisions," Singleton tells CH. "I try to make things that make me laugh while I'm stitching them." As for her origins, Singleton says "my mom tried to get me into cross stitch when I was a child and I didn't enjoy how structured it felt." Looking for a more independent, creative outlet—watercolor, bead-work and pottery didn't feel right—she found stimulating solace in embroidery a few years ago during a job that wasn't fulfilling in those areas. "The first pieces I did were little motivational quotes and rappers from the Bun B's Jumbo Coloring and Rap Activity Tumblr."

"I started Yes Stitch Yes after moving into a new apartment and trying to decorate my walls with things I really loved," Singleton continues. "I couldn't find any Jenny Holzer prints I loved so I decided to stitch my own. That grew into me covering a large section of my wall with my own work and then I decided to open the shop." While she has a full-time job, when night falls, Singleton stitches away. "The shop has become a nice side hustle," she says.

Hoops start at $8, with the more intricate floral patterns capping at around $30. Find the words that speak most to you at Yes Stitch Yes' Etsy shop, or request your own custom hoop. ("I've had my pieces used in weddings and a lot of inside jokes," notes Singleton.) Peruse her Instagram for ideas.

Images courtesy of Yes Stitch Yes

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