Sep 14, 2012


By Kate Rolison
Last night I  had the pleasant experience of attending one of Significant Seams' many events in this year's Art Trail, the first "Awesomestow" Christine's Tomato Jam Stitch-In with Oxfam and the Craftivist Collective. The event was, if not a roaring, then certainly a contentedly purring success, and very exclusive indeed! Local movers, shakers, and makers were invited along, to drum up support for and interest in the project.

The stitch-ins are inspired by the story of Christine, a Kenyan woman who makes and sells tomato jam to support her local community. Tomatoes are a fairly drought-resistant fruit, and thus easily grown in Christine's home town near Nairobi. 

In this spirit, craftivists all over the country (and the world!) are coming together to stitch messages about the food crisis on to jam jar labels. These jars will then be filled with tomato jam following Christine's own recipe, and passed on to people in positions of power, or businesses which are able to call (or shout) for change.

Sarah Corbett, founder and leader of the UK's Craftivist Collective, was on hand to guide us in our stitching, and lead discussion on the issues surrounding the world food crisis. It was fascinating and often deeply unsettling food for thought (pun intended). It's certainly inspired me to educate myself so that I can make more informed choices about how and where I eat.

It wasn't a sombre evening in the slightest, though; there was plenty of tea, and a few tomato jam sandwiches for each of us!

Yes, you read right; tomato jam sandwiches. They were surprisingly moreish. The general consensus was that the jam was closest to plum than any other fruit.

We were hosted by Walthamstow's gorgeous Arts & Crusts café, who provided us with a wonderfully DIY outdoor space, which was festooned with Craftivist Collective and Significant Seams quilts and bunting.


My role for the evening was to Tweet (via Sarah's iPhone... I've yet to invest in one myself) all the happenings, and I think I did a pretty good job! Got some nice "soundbites", for example:

And my personal favourite, for obvious reasons:

 It's so exciting that Walthamstowians (?) are going to be so deeply involved in this project. I can't wait!

Sarah Pelham, Oxfam London/South East's current intern, was on hand to snap and film us throughout proceedings, and took this rather nice shot for me to Tweet:

 Significant Seams is holding fifteen further Stitch-Ins until mid-October. The first is next Wednesday at the Significant Seams Hub in Wood Street Indoor Market, and I'm hosting! Come along between 10 and 5, have a stitch, a chat, and I'm sure you'll learn a lot more than just how to sew. See you there,


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