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Sewing Circle with Marie Watt

In March 2022, the artist Marie Watt will host a Sewing Circle at the Whitney. For these gatherings, which are integral to Watt’s artistic practice, she welcomes members of the community to join her in making a work of art by stitching with a needle and thread. No experience is necessary and all ages are welcome to join.

As part of the project, the artist invited anyone who wants to (even if you cannot attend the Sewing Circle) to help create the work that will be sewn. Inspired by a poem by Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation), the twenty-third Poet Laureate of the United States, Watt asked contributors to share something that they want to celebrate through song. By sharing not just your word, but the way that you write it, you will help us to create a project that integrates our collective voices and hands.

Submissions are now closed.

An Invitation from Marie Watt

Read the poem “Singing Everything” by Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation).

I invite you to consider, in this moment, what do you want to sing a song for? I have to confess that everyday, I might sing a song for something different, so don’t overthink this. Share the first thing that comes to mind, however please refrain from using proper names. 

Lately, I’ve been singing a song for climate justice, glaciers, water protectors, mothers, veterans, and walrus mustaches. 

Please write down your word and take a photo of it. You can post it on Instagram (use #WhitneySewingCircle) or upload it directly by December 15, 2021.

Nya:weh/Thank you 

— Marie Watt (and the Whitney Museum Education Team)

“Singing Everything”

Once there were songs for everything,
Songs for planting, for growing, for harvesting,
For eating, getting drunk, falling asleep,
For Sunrise, birth, mind-break, and war
For death (those are the heaviest songs and they
Have been pried from the earth with shovels of grief)
Now all we hear are falling-in-love songs and
Falling apart after falling in love songs.
The earth is leaning sideways
And a song is emerging from the floods
And fires. Urgent tendrils lift toward the sun.
You might be friends with silence to hear.
The songs of the guardians of silence are most powerful—
They are the most rare.

— Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation), from American Sunrise

“Singing Everything” from An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. ©️ 2019 Joy Harjo. Used with permission of the Author. All rights reserved

Marie Watt is an American artist and citizen of the Seneca Nation with German-Scot ancestry. Her interdisciplinary work draws from history, biography, Iroquois protofeminism, and Indigenous teachings; in it, she explores the intersection of history, community, and storytelling. Through collaborative actions she instigates multigenerational and cross-disciplinary conversations that might create a lens and conversation for understanding connectedness to place, one another, and the universe. Watt has been hosting sewing circles in her studio, community spaces, schools, and institutions for fifteen years. These gatherings are an essential part of her work.

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is serving her second term as the twenty-third Poet Laureate of the United States.



A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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