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Virtual Sewing Circle with Michelle Hartney

August 23, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


August 23, 6-7pm
RSVP via Eventbrite for Zoom link

Join Michelle Hartney on August 23 for a virtual sewing circle and introduction to Unplanned Parenthood: Letters to an Army of Millions, a collaborative mixed media project currently on view at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago. During the virtual sewing circle, Hartney will introduce Unplanned Parenthood and lead a community sew-in via Zoom. She will also share tips for participants to sew independently at home.

As a community, we will sew select letters from Motherhood in Bondage, a collection of letters received by Margaret Sanger in the 1920’s from mothers asking for help to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Sewing circles have traditionally served as a time for women to gather and talk, sometimes working on projects, such as this one, focused on creating a more just society. Hartney invites all genders and community members to join her contemporary sewing circles that create space for community advocacy and dialog around reproductive rights.

Order your sewing kit by August 16 to insure delivery before Aug 23. Order online here. Sewing kit not required to attend event.

Unplanned Parenthood: Letters to an Army of Millions is a collaborative, textile-based piece exploring historical attacks on reproductive health access and calling for intersectional reproductive justice. Hartney will work with volunteers from across the country to tell the stories of more than 250,000 women who penned desperate letters in the 1920’s asking for help ending and preventing pregnancies. The letters come from Motherhood in Bondage, a collection published by Margaret Sanger in 1928 of the correspondence she received when any information about contraception was deemed “obscene,” and disseminating it was punishable by law.

To reckon with Sanger’s racism and her legacy with Planned Parenthood, Hartney centers the project on the letters and individual stories, instead of her work. These testimonies remind us of how urgent it is to stay organized and focused in this fight, and to work toward a more intersectional future. Through this work—from stitch to show— Hartney will seek to shine light on Sanger’s racist legacy and call out the ways white supremacy persists in the movement for, and attacks on, contraception access and reproductive rights.

Michelle Hartney is a Chicago based interdisciplinary artist who works with fiber, installation, sculpture, performance, and the internet. Her practice focuses on women’s rights, maternal healthcare issues, and misogyny in art institutions. Hartney’s interest in using art to address social issues began during her graduate studies in art therapy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

In 2016 Hartney founded the Women’s Health Collective, an art collective dedicated to utilizing creative approaches to raise awareness about women’s health issues by linking artists, writers, musicians, and activists to work collaboratively on socially engaged projects.

Visit for more information about Michelle Hartney’s exhibition, Unplanned Parenthood: Letters to an Army of Millions, currently on view at 21c Chicago and the in-person sewing circle on August 26 (in partnership with ACLU)


August 23, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Juli Lowe


21c Museum Hotel Chicago
55 E Ontario
Chicago, IL 60611
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