Craftspace has completed 4600 Gifts ahead of the athletes arriving to compete in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, each athlete will receive a handmade gift, a token of friendship creating a meaningful exchange from one human to another.

Presented by the Birmingham 2022 Festival, 4600 Gifts has reimagined the idea of Birmingham as ‘the workshop of the world’ creating a social, resourceful, inclusive and empowering production line using locally sourced materials and skills to create the Gifts.

Over 3500 people have taken part in over 100 citywide making sessions, crafting alongside strangers, friends, family members, neighbours, colleagues and fellow pupils – celebrating a shared ‘common’ ‘wealth’, as everyone has a gift to give.

The 4600 Gifts seen together at a showcase at The Library of Birmingham from 30 June until 9 July are a show of unity and a portrait of Birmingham, a diverse city of many talents at this historic moment in time.

Deirdre Figueiredo, Director of Craftspace said: “The act of making a gift for an athlete of a commonwealth country is like an act of reparation, and made by many hands, 4600 Gifts celebrates still thriving craft skills in our communities today. With the cost of living rising the project shows how we can make meaningful gifts from the things around us and through making something of our city and by the people of our city we hope to create a meaningful welcome to Birmingham.”

Tim Hodgson, Senior Producer at Birmingham 2022 Festival said: “We’re delighted to have supported Craftspace on this wonderful project as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival. The arrival of the Commonwealth Games is also the arrival of thousands of visitors to our city, and through work like this we plan to give all arrivals the warmest of welcomes. 4600 Gifts honours the wealth of crafts expertise across the Commonwealth and aims to help keep these traditions strong, while also showing that Birmingham is a city of artists at heart, all culminating in 4600 beautiful moments of connection at the centre of the Games.”

The first Gift will be presented to Ama Agbeze MBE in a special ceremony at the Library of Birmingham where a selection of the Gifts are on display along with accompanying messages written to welcome athletes to Birmingham.

Ama Agbeze MBE, England netball international & B2022 Board member added: I’m honoured to receive this first Gift, I was fortunate enough to work with Craftspace, alongside my colleague, Sarah-Jane Perry from the Athlete Advisory Committee, to talk about the importance of welcome and exchange, and how an organisation like Craftspace that is focused on making, could create something that reflected Birmingham and its people as opposed to something commercially mass produced. I think these gifts will add to what I know will be a memorable experience for the athletes competing from across the Commonwealth.”

Craftspace collaborated with artists Pottinger + Cole, Laura Nyahuye, Mahawa Keita and Kalandra McFarquhar to develop a concept for the gifts with ideas of upcycling, resourcefulness and the power of ‘do-it-together’ in mind. The blank gift comprises two metal washers which are hand decorated by wrapping, knotting, sewing, plaiting and crocheting with fabric, yarns, threads and beads. The two washers are then joined together to symbolise friendship and connection between people and cultures. Like charms or talismans the gifts carry an investment of time, spirit, love and energy.

All materials were sourced locally, most of the yarns were from The Birmingham Scrapstore, with colours chosen to reflect the flags of the Commonwealth nations and territories, and the metal washers were from Oldbury based Stephens Gaskets.

The Gifts will be included in each athlete’s Welcome Pack on arrival in Birmingham. A selection of the 4600 Gifts are currently on show at the Library of Birmingham until 9 July 2022.

4600 Gifts is presented by the Birmingham 2022 Festival and generously funded by Arts Council England and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.


The Library of Birmingham
The Library of Birmingham

The ten-level Library shares a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Sited in Centenary Square it, along with The REP and Symphony Hall, forming a cultural heart for the city.



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