We’re big fans of cross-stich and embroidery. We particularly love it when the traditional techniques are paired with bold, modern statements like Brooklyn artist Elana Adler is doing with her You Are My Duchess collection. The samplers represent the many harassing catcalls the artist has heard while living in New York.

The juxtaposition of the delicate, feminine pieces with the offensive phrases elicits an unexpected and unnerving wave of emotion. The strength of the series comes in the sheer volume of pieces Elana has created. While you might read one and be amused, the more you read on, the more disturbing the experience becomes.

Elana explains:

This series of thirty-two (plus) samplers is intended to be provocative. It is a contemporary feminist interpretation of women’s work and an objectification of my personal experience. Each captures a moment, giving these words a visual presence, a power, and a state of concreteness. These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching.

It is a beautification of an assault. Perhaps in the moment these statements are meant to compliment, but most don’t find vulgar, highly sexualized statements whispered or screamed at them by random strangers complimentary. Rather, they are an invasion of personal space.

The body of samplers reduce the complex emotional experience of being heckled by catcalls to a simple piece of women’s work.

Here are a few of our favorites… you can check out more here.