Doing Some Revival With The Cannonball Collective

16 Sep 2015

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

A couple months back, the folks at The Cannonball Collective contacted me about checking out their new subscription box service. I was very intrigued by what they were doing and said "Heck yes!"

The Cannonball Collective aims to explore themes, using a combination of online content, print content, and tools and materials delivered to your door in a good-looking kit - as they put it: "Like a magazine come to life." The idea is to give you everything you need to have a fun new creative learning experience.

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The theme of this box (their first) is "Revival," and it contains tools and materials for giving new life to an old garment or household item. You don't need any sewing experience, and there's no pattern to follow. Instead, you're encouraged to approach the process freely and playfully, and see what kinds of interesting things emerge.

Above, you can see what comes in that intriguing tin: a beautiful pair of scissors, a box of straight pins, a thimble, and a wooden tube of darning needles from Merchant & Mills, plus an assortment of Japanese cotton fabrics and floss from Superbuzzy. Really high-quality stuff, all of it - and a pleasure to use.

(Yes, those scissors immediately went into my EPP box for future thread-snipping.)

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

...Tucked below all that: Japanese candy. :-)

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The zine that comes with the kit is beautiful and inspiring. It contains a profile of this issue's Cannonball ACE (or featured artisan), Luke Deverell of Darn and Dusted, a UK company specializing in artisanal clothing repair. There are some beautiful images of the kinds of work he does, plus some stitch diagrams to try, a cocktail recipe, and some pointers to interesting books and websites on the subject of reuse and revival.

...And speaking of websites, you can read even more on each theme at The Cannonball Collective website. Here's the Revival page - lots of intriguing links to revival projects there!


Image by The Cannonball Collective

It's worth mentioning that The Cannonball Collective isn't strictly a crafty thing; it's more broadly creative. Take a look at the second issue, which has a theme of "Wonderland." With it, you can harken back to the joys of childhood with all the tools and supplies to make your own ice pops, flavored with your own custom mix of specialty syrups.

...So this is really isn't something you can compare to other craft-supply subscription boxes on the market. This isn't a collection of samples to put in your stash and probably never use. Instead, it's a complete new experience in a box, with extra resources on the web and in your zine. It's an invitation to make some tea and spend an afternoon exploring..

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

I was so inspired by the whole thing, that's exactly what I did - I blocked off a Saturday afternoon on my calendar so I could spend some time with the concept of revival. I made a nice pourover coffee, put my feet up, and enjoyed my zine. And then I went in search of something in my house that needed a bit of reviving.

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

I've been purging stuff lately, so I didn't have any garments around that were in need of mending. But I did find these terribly ratty 15 year-old potholders in my kitchen. (I know, I know, I could have made my own easily many times. But I'm terrible about making things for myself. And, ugly as these things are, they still protect my hands, you know?)

Anyway. In the spirit of just playing, I took my Japanese fabrics and cut them into smaller pieces. And then I just randomly started blanket-stitching them all over the surface of the potholders. I didn't worry too much about making them straight, or keeping my stitching particularly perfect. I just enjoyed the colors and the process.

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

...And along the way, I thought about how long I've had these potholders, how many apartments they've lived in and how many times they've moved with me. Funny how the serviceable things become so invisible. It was a nice feeling to take these long-suffering workhorses and give them a facelift (while simultaneously covering up multiple stains and scorch marks).

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

So now, they're still old and somewhat lumpy and funky, but they're also colorful and happy and they bring a smile to my face every time I open the kitchen drawer. So, Revival indeed! Thank you, Cannonball Collective, for a great creative challenge.

The Cannonball Collective subscription is a quarterly one, and you can opt out of any quarter ahead of time. You can get all the details over here. I'm interested to see what kinds of explorations these folks do in the future!



I did a little of my own mending this last week. I replaced the brim binding on my toddler's sun hat with some bright binding fabric from my leftovers. It feels great to be so resourceful. Even on something that is so easily and cheaply replaced.

Ooo I got all excited when I saw your "new" potholders and thought what a great idea it is to have a craft box subscription (you know, for grown ups!). I looked on their website and was disappointed by the price. I'm sorry, but $95 per box is too pricey for me. And way too much for an ice pop maker. Or even some needles and thread. :( It's a great concept though.

It is pricier than some craft box subscriptions I've seen, Monica, but I do think the concept is radically different. The materials in the box are definitely of a high quality. If you price the tools on the Merchant & Mills website, for example, they take up a pretty good chunk of the price. These kinds of boxes also simply aren't cheap to put together at any quality level - there's a lot of labor that goes into sourcing, assembling, and packing for shipping. (Which is why we've seen so many craft box subscription programs fail over the years.) We crafters tend to be pretty thrifty, to be sure. But there's a niche out there for whom this subscription will be perfect.

That is a cool kit! Love merchant & mills, just the packaging is awesome. Thanks for sharing about it, and great work with the patchwork!