Being a piece of the Craftivist Jigsaw: how craft can help change the world for the better

Since I picked up a pair of knitting needles in 2005 I’ve been using my crafty kung fu for all kinds of good causes. I’ve pulled my ‘wanna be stitching superhero’ hat firmly down on my head and tried my best to change the world for the better. I’ve come to realise that even as a small part of the craft world, and an even smaller part of the big bad world around it, every little person makes a difference as long as they speak up and step forward. And I am about to step forward and speak up in a big way as a proud part of an exciting new venture in world-changing: The Craftivist Jigsaw Project. You’re coming with me too!

We are, you know.

What on earth are you rambling about? I’m just a person. Not a superhero.

Today is World Food Day. I’m a definite foodie. Just the idea of a day without a decent bit of grub fills me with horror. So it makes perfect sense that every person, big, small or medium-sized has the right to enough to eat. It might seem like an impossible dream but if you think about it we do the impossible every day. We can now communicate with anyone at the touch of a button, we carry the world’s knowledge on a tiny rectangle in our pockets, we can travel round the world in a day, and tweet celebrities we swoon over on Twitter hoping to get a reply (I’m looking at you @johncusack).

So feeding everyone shouldn’t be a problem, right?

But how do we, the tiny people who aren’t politicians, millionaires or world-shakers make a difference? Well, you do. You shake the world every day with everything you do, from recycling your plastic to smiling at someone on the tube. And if enough of us start shaking it in the right direction eventually things will start to move that way.

Jigsaws? Am I a bit of jigsaw?

You’re a tiny piece of the world’s puzzle but without you, the world’s picture would be incomplete because no one else is uniquely you but you. Even more importantly no one else has the power to raise your voice and say when something isn’t right. No one in this whole big pile of puzzle pieces but you.

And when enough voices are raised people tend to notice. Just take a peek at social media being used to clean up after the London riots (go Riot Wombles!) or helping a hardworking kid in the US build the arcade of his dreams.

Now you know that you have power I’d like to invite you to join me and three amazing fellow crafters to put our pieces together and start shaking the world in the right direction.

The Crafty Avengers

“We are all a piece of the puzzle, creating change stitch by stitch. That’s the philosophy of Craftivist Collective, and the theme of our latest project, which launches today in support of Save the Children’s ‘Race Against Hunger’ campaign and with the backing of some of the country’s top contemporary crafters: Deadly Knitshade, Mr X Stitch & Hilary from CraftBlog UK”

From now until the spring, we would very much like you to join a campaign to stamp out world hunger. It sound huge but so did ending slavery or abolishing apartheid and where are they now? Exactly!

The idea is that you use you crafty skills to help us put hunger at the top of the agenda at the G8 (assembly of world leaders) next summer. All of us little jigsaw pieces will join up to be part of the solution to tackle hunger. This is our opportunity to make change in the world, and to tell our Government that the craft community wants to make the world a better place and we’re serious about it.


Why change the lives of hungry kids when we’ve got all these problems ourselves?

To be honest I have never been able to answer this question with anything but: why not? If you can help someone then you should. Simple as that. Making someone’s life better is one of the most inspiring, fullfilling and warm, fuzzy feelings you can have. Try it and see. Hold a door open, buy someone a Kinder Egg, help someone with a heavy bag. Instant good feeling which they pass on and it spreads out in ripples. It’s all about getting involved and living life. Sitting on the sidelines not helping is oddly sad to me. Why watch people struggle when a little help from you can make a change?

Here’s what the Craftivist Collective has to say:

” All children deserve a good start in life whether they’re in Sudan, Seattle, Stockholm or Southampton. Nutrition gives all children the chance to fulfil their potential. There’s more than enough food for everybody, but the way we grow and share our food doesn’t work. That’s not fair play and it doesn’t have to be this way. Next year is a historic opportunity to tackle hunger once and for all. We need to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. After all, it is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.”

Okay, I’m a jigsaw piece. Where does the craft come into it?

We want each of you crafty critters to help us make a giant jigsaw, adding your voice to all of ours and asking for a better world for people who don’t have as grand a start as we do.

Your jigsaw piece will form an art installation handmade by hopefully hundreds of you, which we’ll use to persuade the people making all those giant world decisions that this is something we care about. Need help? Hop over to the Craftivist Collective Jigsaw Project page and find out what to do. Or grab a cuppa and watch this:

If you’re on Twitter use the #imapiece to let us know you’re tweeting about it. And you can find out more on the Save the Children Jigsaw Project page.

What are you up to while I’m making jigsaw pieces?

I’m going to be making a fair few pieces too but I’m also going to be giving up some of my time by volunteering to do a few things to really get the message across:

1. A free Jigsaw Project Stitch Up in London with Stitch London. You can come and create your jigsaw and meet fellow world changers while you stitch. (More on that soon)

2. Making sure the Jigsaw Project message is every place I can ramble about it. Bringing in more voices and more pieces.

3. Heading to Indonesia in November to face the problem head on and see the Save the Children projects out there first hand. I’ll be video blogging about it the whole way, so that you all get a real insight into how we really can change the world. I’m very nervous and quite excited all at once but I will do my best to do the craft community proud by standing up and using my voice to do what I can.

My first jigsaw piece will have my cancer-survivor ass-kicking motto on it: “A life lived in fear is a life half lived”. I’m hoping to ignore my own fears as best I can, and help make a few less fears in the lives of people whose main fear is getting enough to eat each day. It shouldn’t happen, and with our puzzle pieces joined we should be loud enough to hear.

I really hope you’ll join me in a bit of world changing. It beats sitting around watching from the  sidelines wishing things were better, right?

Go to the Craftivist Jigsaw Project page now and get started on saving the world

6 thoughts on “Being a piece of the Craftivist Jigsaw: how craft can help change the world for the better

  1. Sami T

    Fantastic! I’ll be joining in. Best of luck with your jigsaw travels, you and the guys will be ace and it will be an amazing experience.