The Stowe Center’s 2023 Sewing & Learning Workshop, The History and Contemporary Craftivist Use of Sentiment Sewing, includes lively talks, a dynamic“sewing circle” with discussion and hands-on crafting, and the materials needed to try your skills as a craftivist, or craft activist. Tickets provide Zoom access to the talks and a hands-on sewing circle activity, as well as a supply kit, which will be mailed in advance of the workshop.
The project-based, hands-on/minds-on workshop explores how and why sentimental sewing—also described as adding a moral message—was used by Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionists, and activists historically.
“We think about sentimental sewing as ‘craftivism,’ a combination of craft and activism,” said Hufnagel. “We are especially excited to explore how we can channel contemporary impact through this historical practice.”
Participants will receive a makers’ kit, hear and discuss compelling talks about sentimental sewing, and share their own ideas and art. Presenters for this event include:
Dr. Mariah Kupfner, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Public Heritage at Penn State Harrisburg, will discuss “how women stitch themselves into new selves” and what histories are embedded in the abolitionist political stitch. Kupfner will also explore how sentimental sewing is still practiced today.
Beth Burgess, Director of Collections & Research at the Stowe Center, will discuss Harriet Beecher Stowe as a writer, and share abolitionist quotes that endure.
Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue, living history consultant and stitcher, will outline the sewing project directions and how-to steps.
Jordana Munk Martin, founder of the non-profit TATTER will address the politics of cloth and thread and the complexities of the industry and materials used in craftivist work. Created by TATTER, the maker’s kit for Sewing and Learning includes quotes, and all the supplies needed, including cloth, embroidery thread, needles, pattern, and more.
Roxana Alger Geffen, who is a Beecher descendant and multi-disciplinary artist, will present her work, the TinyPricks project, and other examples of text-based craftivist contemporary art.
The final hour of the program will be in sewing circle format where participants will discuss ideas, ask questions of our speakers, and make plans for their craftivist actions to follow.
Registration for this event is now closed.
Images, top left: Sampler by Harriet Porter [Beecher], c. 1800-1810 (63.815), Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT. Top right: art by Diana Weymar. Source: the TinyPricks project.