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Thursday, February 27, 2014

How Daisy Maciel started SIW Brazil!

ACNA Child Social Forum 2014 'Forinho'
Start a project where YOU live

INTERVIEW with Daisy Maciel, our amazing SIW coordinator in Brazil
Over the last two years, Daisy has organized five exhibitions of a growing SIW reef crocheted by interested people in Porto Alegre, where she lives. In January 2014, she presented an exhibition including an educational ‘action’ dedicated to children and adolescents. How does she do it? Let’s ask her…..

Daisy, how did you get the projects started in Porto Alegre?
A little secret:  I did not know how to do crochet! I told Wendy but she was not impressed. So I started and discovered anyone can do it!  After participating in the 2011 Pittsburgh exhibition, Wendy and I exchanged some ideas and I decided to start one where I live.

How did you get people interested ?
I discovered it was fun! Then I contacted different groups: art education    workshops, yoga, stretching. People really like participating in educational activities, especially people who have never crocheted before. Men have much fun too! People love to crochet, so relaxed and cheerful.

What other ways do you use to get the word out?
I started a Portuguese Something in the Water blog discussing the threats of plastic debris in the waste stream. Somewhat that surprises me are the hits to my blog, people from Vietnam, Pakistan, Germany, Russia or Uruguay, many others the whole planet is concerned but we need action (see map of blog viewers around the world!) I have a feeling a feeling of making a small contribution of making a small contribution, almost nothing... but it is what I can do.

Some people have asked how you find locations for exhibitions! Do tell!
I showed the crocheted pieces we were doing to people I thought might be  interested and commented that we were looking for a place to exhibit. For the first exhibition at the Botanical Garden I attended a meeting, made a small contribution and spoke with people there about the idea. From that first event, came an invitation to present the work at the State Bank of Rio Grande do Sul. The more exposure we got, the more opportunities to participate in future events developed. I can say one exhibition ‘prepares’ the next. I think it can be done anywhere: school fairs, craft fairs, outdoor events and galleries. Just use creative networks!  Anyway to expand the conversation and concern about the harm single- use plastic bags are causing in the people, animals and the environment.
     Daisy with Nelly Sefton Burger, 100, loves to help make plarn. 

In the exhibition photos, I see beautiful posters. Tell us about them.
We have some explanatory banners on pollution in the water that really impress all. I think the importance of more exposures, greater visibility, different places, more people, and new invitations for exhibitions and educational actions can make a difference.

And, they are so much fun to play with!!!!
Never too young!
Who produced and paid for the banners?
When we did the event with the Department of Environmental Partners at the Bank of Rio Grande do Sul State, they designed and produced the banners!

Daisy organized this project her own way, based on her own contacts and enthusiasm. You can do it too wherever you live.  Just let me know what you want to do......and go for it! Email me, Wendy Osher, at Let's talk!

Monday, November 12, 2012

bag it comes to Pittsburgh
In this entertaining and informative film, an average guy makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely...

Rose Clancy, contributor to our first reef, has organized a free screening of the award-winning environmental film at Mattress Factory in conjunction with "A Matter of Convenience" (an art exhibition and community outreach). The film will screen Thursday November 15, at 6 pm. I will be there to tell people about the latest "Something in the Water's" developments". If you are in the 'burgh, come on dahn!

Rose is the second SIW participant to sponsor a screening! In April, Meagan White Shonka in Omaha, Nebraska put together a public screening of "Bag It"!
Bring the film to your city or just invite some friends! Here is a link to make it easy. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Suda Birsey (SIW) goes to Turkey!
Even in this most rural village in Cappadocia, plastic bags and bottles are a serious problem!
I am here as an artist in residence at Babayan Culture House in this spectacular landscape inhabited by people who have lived in labyrinthine caves carved from the volcanic rock for thousands of years. Women and men live mostly separately in Ibrahimpasa, except at home. The women stay covered with scarves and practical clothing that they can wear to work the fields and in their homes.

The women all crochet and stitch elaborate and beaded edging around the scarves they wear. Their skill is a status marker, while sales help out with finances. Their work is exquisitely detailed and fine.

I have introduced the project here, by sitting in my doorway in the late afternoon when the women have a chance to stroll a bit. They have been excited to see that I was doing something that they sort of recognized! Great fun trying to communicate and share. I brought a lot of large crochet hooks to give to interested women. Some have been totally amped, thinking of other things they could make with it.  Sherife said, (in translation) "I am just flabbergasted"!. They only use their skills in very traditional proscribed ways, so this was really blowing her mind! We see only her hands below as she did not want her face to be photographed.
In the nearby larger town, Urgup, I was introduced to two women who might have more openness to the abstract ideas of the project. One, Sule, a jewelry artist, and the other, Guler Somturk, a fiber artist making wearables and painting. Both were very excited and interested

 in possibly inviting other women for a gathering where I could teach the method and talk about the project. In this photo, I am demonstrating the project to Guler in her wonderful shop. Her daughter is standing.

I do have a hope that I might find someone who would like to coordinate a Turkish reef, but short of that, the opportunity to introduce the environmental ideas and images of our work, the way of using discarded plastic all are fantastic opportunities in and of themselves!

Yesterday, a group of women, mostly from one family in the village along with three of their boys were curious about the project. Here I am showing them and having a lot of fun trying to
compensate for having almost no language in common (other that needlework and our humanity)....but how much more is there, really?????! Extra big smile for me

Stay tuned for developments!!!! I am learning so much..............

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

HOPE: Honolulu Bans Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a thing of the past in Honolulu! They didn't manage to establish a fee for both paper and plastic, but this is an important move for a major city. Check out the report on Honolulu Beat.

If Honolulu's success fires you up, here is site that will help you get ban the bag legislation going where you live. This Ban the Bag blog offers both a history of the issue and practical strategies for political action against single-use plastic bag pollution.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Bag It" in Omaha, Nebraska

Megan 'White' Shonka, a SIW project participant, is hosting a screening of the fabulous film, "Bag It", about our addiction to single use plastic bags! on April13. If you are in Omaha or know anyone there, be sure to forward the info. Go Megan! Let us know what the response is.

Info on how about how some cities have banned plastic bags may inspire you to start a grassroots initiative! Here is a link to an NPR report and an LA Times article about the Santa Monica ban.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Exciting Developments in Brazil!

New Reef begins in Porta Alegre, Brazil! Daisy Maicel, participant in our first reef, has translated the Something in the Water guidelines and call into Portuguese and is launching the first satellite project, Alguma Coisa Na Agua. Please take a look! Many of you are pictured in her blog. Take a look and feel free to contribute to her reef! Daisy's email is:

We hope to exhibit this along with the original reef in Brazil. As new reefs are created, we plan to exhibit them together for greater and greater impact as the scale of the project grows. If you would like to start a reef, please contact me!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Take THAT, plastic bags!

If you already know Annie Leonard, you'll be hitting play right now. If you don't start now! This is the first of her new podcasts about great things that people are doing to whittle away our mountains of environmental/systemic problems. This one is about plastic bags. Listen up and you might just be inspired to get your community on the ban the bag wagon! Its called The Good Stuff.