When Haley Stendahl's grandmother taught her to cross stitch, she may not have imagined the vision her granddaughter would have: taking a traditional, primarily female medium and turning it straight up onto its head. Stendahl's collaboration with longtime friend Briony Deege has resulted in the empowering and often hilarious cross stitch art they create under the name, Crosstitutes.
The two women met when working at an office in Vancouver, Wash. When Stendahl moved back to her hometown of Bend, it wasn't too long after that Deege followed. Looking for something they could do together, Stendahl taught Deege to cross stitch, and the two never looked back. The pair often stitch effigies of famous rappers, funny sayings from pop culture and even the bawdy comments you might only make to your best girlfriends. Often, their work involves the "naughty words" that in the past would have been considered "too delicate" for a "lady." Those words and their fearlessness to be who they are have ignited passion and inspiration in the community, and launched a lot of laughter.
The goal is not just to be funny. Like for most artists, the aim is to respond to the world around them in a way that's authentic and honest. Both women are not afraid to use the F word—feminists—when speaking about themselves. It's in this world that their work resonates with so many other young women their age. "We are often inspired by badass women. We do something traditional, but we do it in our own voice," says Deege.
They also find inspiration in their friends, who often send text messages with things they should stitch. They wake up after a night out, phones full of notes of things they overhear.
"Our main goal is 'girls support girls.' No matter who you are, no matter any of these boxes people try to put you in, we accept you and support you and want to hang with you! We can grow further if we grow together," says Stendahl. Both women live by the credo that they are allowed to enjoy themselves and live their lives in the way they best see fit, and they want that for other women, too. It's this world they're building, one stitch at a time.
Pantsuit Pop-up with The Crosstitutes
A fundraiser for Grandma's House
Thurs., March 8th - International Women's Day
10 Barrel Eastside
62950 NE 18th St., Bend
First Friday at Cosa Cura
Fri., April 6
910 NW Harriman St., Bend