Can We Start A Bottle Revolution? Maddie’s Craftivism Project

14 Jul Can We Start A Bottle Revolution? Maddie’s Craftivism Project

This is the third of three blogs I’ve shortlisted to share with you from many more Year 2 and 3 Textile Design Degree students at Falmouth University. I had the pleasure to hear each student present their project and then have a one to one tutorial, asking them more questions about their project, objectives and strategy as well as offering them advice on how to improve their craftivism project to have more impact before the final deadline.

Here is one of the three strongest final projects presented, created by Maddie McCollin, a second year Textiles Design student. I hope these three blogposts encourage you in your craftivism, show you how people have thought through their strategies, who they are targeting as an audience, their clear and realistic objectives and how to execute them through their craft. These blogs also remind us all of the variety of craftivism projects that can be created and have a positive impact.


Maddie, How did you get into Craftivism?
Craftivism represents something I am interested in but I didn’t know it existed. I always get excited about street art and wanted to get involved, but I loved my textiles too and couldn’t work out how to create street art and textiles at the same time. Day one of my second year of university and the one brief that caught my eye was a Craftivist project that would make me see how my love of art for the people and textiles could be brought together. This is what encouraged me to get going.


“PureBull, Still Just As Good As Tap Water”: Photographed by George Budd.


What is your project about?
I had decided to do my project based on ‘Keep Your Kool’. It is a campaign run by the FXU Green Living Project on the Falmouth University campus to reduce the number of bottled water bought by students and staff and eventually ban bottled water from being sold on campus. Bottled water is environmentally irresponsible, expensive and unnecessary in the UK and the rest of the world. Even in places with poor quality drinking water there is still a better option to bottled water. Through this campaign, Green Living aim to make a difference, starting off with Falmouth University, then maybe throughout Cornwall and then the world.


After a lot of experimenting with different possible outcomes and reading about the work of ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ and the impact that bottled water has locally, in Cornwall and globally, I finally settled on creatively producing bottle labels. These labels are a mixture of ideas but all with the same conclusion about bottled water. Some of the labels are ‘plays’ on the original brands of bottled water and some of the more subtle pieces I produced on the sewing machine. To add some fun to the serious logos I mixed up bright colours and up-cycled fabrics for some hand stitched and thought provoking one-liners.


What did you think about when stitching?
The majority of the time while I was stitching and working on the project I was motivated by what influence this project would have on students and staff and how it could affect other people too.
I also wondered how much of an impact it would have on ‘Keep Your Kool’ and if it would successfully help the campaign take off and be embraced by students and staff. However, there were some late nights and slow stitching that just got repeatedly knotted and the thread just kept snapping and this made me question if I could make a difference to the world through Craftivism. Was it actually possible? I was later reminded that I had changed my life style through this project, as I have cut out buying bottled water and that was one more person than before. That is a difference and is an important one for me.


Naive and "Wondering if You're Just Forking Out for Tap Water": Photographed by George Budd.

Naive and “Wondering if You’re Just Forking Out for Tap Water”: Photographed by George Budd.


What response do you want people to have from Craftivism?
I think that there is something that online pharmacy ed everyone can get out of Craftivism from what I have been able to gather, when speaking to students, friends and family. Some people love the stitching and the textiles; some enjoy the concept and the message and others like the idea of discovering something new. I find it a great way to encourage people to contemplate something from their everyday life that they may never have considered before. It is also a way for people to mix and talk, having people bonding over the same thing but from different perspectives can produce great and passionate conversations.


From having these conversations and asking questions like ‘why do we use it?’ means that people can come to their own conclusions and ideas about what they want to do about it. If they decide they want to make a change from using bottled water then that is brilliant, if it is cutting down on buying bottled water that is also good and if they decide they don’t want to change their habits at all but have thought about and talked about it then that is better than ignoring the issue. It means that I have passed the message on with the ability for it to spread and evolve.


"Keep Your Kool", "Volvic, Natural Spring Water With A Sell By Date" and "PureBull, Still Just As Good As Tap Water": Photographed by George Bull.

“Keep Your Kool”, “Volvic, Natural Spring Water With A Sell By Date” and “PureBull, Still Just As Good As Tap Water”: Photographed by George Budd.


Little changes like this could have a big impact on helping us protect the future of the planet and everything on it. I want to protest for what is right and what I believe is right but the risks in traditional protesting make me nervous and wary. On the 28th November 2015 I participated in my first protest in Falmouth as part the Global Climate March. It was a great experience singing special ‘shanties’ out loud and chanting with like-minded people. However, looking out at the people who walked past and how they ignored us or did not want to hear our message made me realise how Crativism could benefit protesters through its subtler approach. Craftivism is definitely a fascinating and inspiring way to get the message across without shouting and forcing my ideas onto others.


Anything else we should know?
The power of conversation, I think, is very critical to the process of change. I live in a little cottage with two of my best friends and one of them studies Environmental Science at Exeter University. Having this constant and on-going conversation is very influential to how I work in my professional studio practice and what I want to get across in my work when looking at sustainability. This constant collaboration of ideas is what motivated me do this project and is key to having a globally successful sustainable future.


There are so many debates, petitions and protests about different aspects of sustainability that at times we can become desensitised to their effects. By using Craftivism we can use a new and fresh approach, creating something that is small intricate and interesting that will have a big impact on changing our lifestyles and therefore making a difference.


Please help and support FXU Green Living Project’s ‘Keep Your Kool’ ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ and the battle against bottled water by sharing this blog and showing your support on social media.

You can find me on Facebook (Maddie McCollin Textiles Design), Twitter and Instagram.

Maddie McCollin is a 2nd Year Textiles Design student at Falmouth University. She enjoys exploring the outdoors and being excited over everything.


“My Craftivism”  is a series: We love hearing what benefits they see in craftivism, what their ‘crafter-thoughts’ were whilst stitching & what they are going to do with the project they have joined in with. It can really inspire us all, challenge us and hopefully get us all thinking about what is effective craftivism and how we can help each other be the best craftivists and global citizens we can be. If you would like to share your craftivism piece or event with us please do email us at for more info 


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