Sewing & Learning Workshops


For immediate release:
December 6, 2022


Winter Workshop Combines Sewing with Activism
Popular “Craftivism” Program Returns to Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Sampler by Harriet Porter [Beecher], c. 1800-1810, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT.



Sewing & Learning 2023 Workshop

The History and Contemporary Craftivist Use of Sentiment Sewing






Hartford (CT)—The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center presents its 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. The cost is $55 per person for 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.


Participants can choose one of two days to attend the virtual presentation:

  • Workshop #1: Saturday, January 14, 2023: 2-5:00pm (registration closes January 5)
  • Workshop #2: Saturday February 11, 2023:2-5:00pm (registration closes Feb 1).


Those interested can register on the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center website.


The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center interprets Stowe’s life, home, and collections while also exploring historical and contemporary social activism. “Sewing can be a form of activism,” said Amy Hufnagel, Director of Programs and Visitor Experience at the Stowe Center. “In fact, historically sewing, especially embroidering words into projects, was a way of speaking out in a time when women’s voices were often excluded from public forums.”

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. This dynamic learning and sewing experience requires advance registration, no experience with sewing, and is appropriate for ages 12 and up.


More about the Speakers:

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 (www.tatter.org) will address the politics of cloth and thread and the complexities of the industry and materials used in craftivist work.

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.


More about the Makers’ Kit:

Those who register for Sewing & Learning 2023 will receive a makers’ kit, mailed in advance of the workshop. Created by TATTER, the kit includes quotes, and all the supplies needed including cloth, embroidery thread, needles, pattern, and more.





The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a museum, research library/archive, and program center in Hartford, Connecticut. The Stowe Center’s mission is to preserve and interpret Stowe’s Hartford home and the Center’s historic collections, promote vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspire commitment to social justice and positive change. For general information and updates, please visit www.HarrietBeecherStoweCenter.org.



CONTACT: Anita Durkin

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

860.522.9258  |  adurkin@stowecenter.org