Our Progress

We’ve finished phase 2!

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers, our wonderful wave of colour has doubled in length since the end of July. Attaching the final string on 27 October marked the end of the middle phase of this project about plastic. Here’s how it went …

Phase 2 in numbers

10,786 the total number of bottle tops collected and intercepted in phase 2. That brings the running tops total for the project to: 20,034.

Louise at InterViz has updated the fantastic visualisation of how many bottle tops were collected, by whom, and what brands they came from.

And here are some other important numbers . . .

The number of days it took us to count and classify all 10786 bottle tops.

The length of our bottle top wave in metres by the end of phase 2.

The number of days it took us to thread the bottle tops together.

The number of fabulous volunteers who helped in making and hanging our installation.

The highlights

Without a doubt, the people!

The little people

I didn’t set out to involve very little people in this project. It’s the first time I’ve done a project quite like this, and bottle tops screamed “potential choking hazard”. So I was delighted when the kids got involved as part of the Fun Palaces day organised by the Volks Railway. Armed with litterpickers they headed out onto the beach, gleefully bringing back their colourful finds to add to our count.

While hanging the tops I’ve also seen kids engage with the wave, running their hands across the surface and asking endless questions about it. I was especially thrilled when one dad told me how his pre-schooler had been using the wave to learn their colours. Yet again, this project has touched people in ways I’d never planned for.

The big people

And again, the lovely volunteers kept coming. To count, thread and hang. You might think the bottle tops are the fabric of this project, but it’s turned out to be the conversations, the connections, the coincidences and the company that have held it together and helped take the project beyond the confines of the Volks Railway fence.

On our busiest day of threading we had a lovely group from the Synergy Creative Community who came as part of their Climate Change & Mental Health Arts Project. As their project is just kicking off, they invited me to share my experience in a talk at the West Hill Community Hall. It was great to do, and a good time to reflect on how everything’s evolved! I also got to speak about the project to pupils at Brighton & Hove High School, and to students at the University of Chichester.

A special mention must go to Charlotte McCarthy, who was there from the counting through to the threading and hanging, breaking records for the number of bottle tops a single person can string together in a single morning.

And finally to Olga Saavedra, for the wonderful portraits of our volunteers. They speak volumes.

Jessie Bee by ©Olga Saavedra
Cesar Da Luz by ©Olga Saavedra
Luc Raesmith by ©Olga Saavedra
Richard Avison by ©Olga Saavedra
Vicky Karidopoulou by ©Olga Saavedra
Ana Carretero by ©Olga Saavedra
Charlotte McCarthy by ©Olga Saavedra
Helen Dixon by ©Olga Saavedra
Liz Ikamba by ©Olga Saavedra
Candy Medusa by ©Olga Saavedra
Mike Scofield by ©Olga Saavedra
Laurence Weedy by ©Olga Saavedra
Into the home stretch

We’re straight into the final phase of the project now! There will be no more bottle tops collected after 31st October. Counting takes place on  5th November, and our drop-in making workshops will run on 6th, 8th and 9th, and the following week on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th of November. That’s Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on the first two weeks of November.

They’re in the Volks Railway Visitor Centre. You can find further details for the workshops on our Facebook page.

Hope you can join us for the final thread!


In case you missed it, here’s what happened in phase 1.