The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Shawnee Barton

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Shawnee Burton is an interdisciplinary artist from San Diego California.

Shawnee “uses humor, humility, and her art practice to cope with being unemployed during the worst economic downturn the United States has seen in sixty years.

“Using hand-embroidery, a labor-intensive media that references both the excess time she now has and a craft stereotypically associated with housewives, she addresses subjects related to her unemployment such as job titles, depression, the economy, and time mismanagement.

“Many Americans place importance on introspection, self-revelation, and creating a self-image to portray to the world. Our enthusiasm for therapists, talk shows, and emotion-regulating medications are all examples of individuals trying to better understand and live with themselves and others.

“My work is a manifestation of my own complex relationship with introspection, and the creation of a personal identity. While openly trying to better understand my world, I also use satire to explore sociological concerns such as dislocation, relationship and group dynamics, class issues, and the ways in which we make connections and communicate with each other.”

It’s really interesting work. Shawnee uses embroidery as a form of therapy and processes her situation with skill and humour. It’s great to see needle and thread replacing pen and ink in such honest ways.

See Also

Visit Shawnee’s website to realise that her embroidery is only one part of her artistic output. Go and give her some love. 🙂


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

View Comments (2)
  • Ouch, those hit close to home. I just finally found a job (literally two weeks ago), after over a year and a half of fruitless searching (and that, after freshly graduating from college, and thus NEVER having had a ‘real’ job- that certainly played a role into my “maybe I’ll just never be good enough” neuroses).

    The thing that’s bothering me is that, now that I have a job? Those two embroidered graphs are still true. My cynicism has not decreased; my self-worth has not increased.

    Maybe with time? I can hardly expect to undo the mental damage of a year-and-a-half plus in two weeks, can I?

    Hopefully with time.

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