We did it! With the help of hundreds of craftivistas we created a giant art installation made up of more than 600 stitched jigsaw puzzle pieces which was unveiled at Manchester’s People’s History Museum on Friday 1st March calling for an end to the global food crisis and child malnutrition. It was so big its really hard to even fit all of the jigsaws in one photograph!
We had over 40 members of the public and the contemporary craft scene gathered at the People’s History Museum in Manchester to see the result of the Jigsaw Project, which was launched last October on World Food Day to support Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger campaign (don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t already!). People stayed the whole night to take photographs of their favourite jigsaws, spot their own and have their photo taken proudly next to the installation & chat to other jigsaw makers. There were many shiny eyes from people holding back the tears reading each jigsaw and seeing what we can create as the craft community which is hard not to be effected by. I had to hold back the tears!
Guests included our Crafty Avengers Deadly Knitshade, Mr X Stitch, Craft Blog UK‘s Hilary Pullen, as well as representatives of the Manchester Women’s Institute, local craft bloggers and craft lovers. We even had craftivists travel from Reading, Derby, Hull and Birmingham to be part of this special night.
Over the last four months, it’s been so exciting to connect & see other craftivists connect with each other of all ages – from children to pensioners – across the UK and the world! We’ve had over 50 stitch-ins take place (even by nervous shy craftivists who have never set up an event before- go you!). Loads of us have been sharing our jigsaws through social media - 2,334 tweets so far using the project’s hashtag #imapiece reaching over 7 million people, and 180 blog posts have reached over 19 million readers so far. The project has also been covered so far by 13 magazines and newspapers reaching 3.4 million readers of old-school print. Currently 103 MPs have been contacted by over 170 craftivists to engage in the Save the Children #raceagainsthunger campaign & we still have lots of craftivists still planning on contacting their MPs soon.
It was so exciting to meet over 40 people from across the UK attending this event to see the collection of jigsaws together and the part they played in creating it. Many of whom had never seen themselves as political before but are now determined to continue campaigning with Save the Children to pressure the UK Government to use the G8 Presidency to prioritise eradicating child malnutrition and extreme hunger. I hope this jigsaw installation continues to inspire and remind people that we can achieve incredibly beautiful things in our world when we put our minds to it and work together. This is especially important when we can see around the world and in the UK that children and families are struggling to feed themselves which can feel so upsetting to the point where it is easy to feel crippled by this global issue & just want to give up. We can’t give up! Evil flourishes when good people do nothing.
This has been a long journey for all of us. I hope you are all just as proud as we are of the results. You can see more photos on our Flickr account. I hope that the passion you have all put into this project doesn’t fade, I hope that you keep your jigsaw for yourself in a visible place for you to see every day (mind is on a kitchen cupboard!) to remind yourselves to keep being pieces of the solution to world hunger & not give up striving for a more beautiful and loving world for all. We can’t give up now- look what we’ve started! Let’s join Save the Children and over a 100 other charities in the Enough Food IF campaign
It’s been inspiring to read the cards, letters, emails and blogs from people who say that they now see themselves as craft activists and made time whilst stitching to meditate (through the repetitive hand-stitching) on the role they can play as a global citizen in tackling world hunger.
The art installation will be travelling around the country over the next few months, to continue campaigning and provoking thought and discussion of the issues surrounding world hunger, and to remind people that they too can be a part of the solution. If you want to host the installation, need help with giving your MP the jigsaw you have made them or have any other questions please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From one #imapiece Jigsaw to another I want to leave you with a quote I think it very apt that the moment:
“People say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing- that’s why we recommend it daily.”
So please continue to be a piece of the solution to world hunger with Save the Children, the IF campaign & our craftivism community throughout 2013 when the UK is hosting the G8 Presidency. I know I will be!:)