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Monday, June 13, 2016

Want to provide protection for homeless?

Busy hands crochet at the South Butler Community Library making plastic bag mats for the homeless, sponsored by New Life Christian Church in Saxonburg.

Kelli Townsend, one of the original Something in the Water crocheters (who JUST got married in Florida last weekend), sent this article today about volunteers at South Butler, PA library who crochet mats from discarded plastic bags for homeless people to cushion and waterproof their bedding. Sponsored by New Life Christian Church near Saxonburg, member Jim Wright volunteers as project leader for the new ministry. Read the article and find out how you and or your organization can pitch in crocheting this menace to the environment to actually help someone out! Great project. Thanks Kelli and Mazel Tov!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Glendale Community College Art Gallery shares Our Reef!

Waterworks II (on the road!) September 12 - October 2, 2015 
My experience of installing our Something in the Water reef at Glendale Community College, Glendale, California was off the hook. I wish you all could have been flies on the wall because about one in five of the students and faculty passing by stopped to watch. How often do people stop in their tracks in this day and age??? About half of them were so intrigued that they came in to talk. These are busy students on their ways to and from class!

They wanted to know more about it. What IS this???? The more they heard the more their interest level spiked. Gallery attendants loved talking about that piece with visitors. It was located right by glass doors to the gallery and proved to be a major draw. You should all be thrilled by the attention your work continues to draw to important issues of plastic pollution review in the student paper, El Vaquero gives SIW prominent mention. The impact of our work is not diminishing. Remember if any of you want to start a reef where you live, let me know! I will help you any way I can.

recent article in the LA Times reported new studies finding plastic and textile fibers in seafood. Please read this and pass it on! In it they also mention that industry sources say that amount of plastic produced each year is roughly 70 lbs for every human on earth!

Check out photos below of our beautiful reef........

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Something in the Water/Ojai, CA

Our Something in the Water reef floated buoyantly front and center in the Waterworks2 exhibition at Porch Gallery in Ojai, CA from May 9-June 8! All works in the exhibition plumbed the depths of water issues amplifying each other in powerful ways. I think this was definitely the most advantageous installation of the piece to date. So many people were intrigued, curious, emotional, and impressed with everyone's contributions. All contributors were named individually in the wall text. The curators said they loved talking with visitors about it. Happily, the show is slated to travel to Glendale, CA in the fall, so I will be installing the piece there in September. Other interesting possibilities now loom for the piece. Will let you know when we hear for sure!

You can see how it dominates the space!

Here's me reef-side!

Artist depicts haunting plastic universe of ocean debris

Words cannot describe the haunting universes Mandy Barker creates with plastic debris she has collected from beaches around the world. I first saw her photographs in Smithsonian magazine, but check out her website. If the remote arctic waters of Kamchatka already harbor 185 tiny plastic litter pieces per square foot as far down as three miles below the surface, what can we look forward to if we don't change our ways? Maybe these photos will help.............Mandy Barker | Photography

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our Reef Lives On!!!

Opening May 9 in Ojai, CA our SIW reef will be front and center in "Waterworks II", an international juried exhibition presented by Porch Gallery and Venice Institute for Contemporary Art (ViCA) including works from as far away as China. Everyone who helped to create this reef will be acknowledged in the exhibition. 

When I moved to California, the platform did not make the cut. The platform allows the reef to 'float' just off the ground. Here are a few shots of the platform in progress....This documentation can also serve as a reference for how to construct a Something in the Water platform for your own reef. I made a paper pattern of the shape of the reef and then cut it to fit the plywood. 

I used scraps left from cutting out the platform to screw the pieces together. With four pieces, I can unscrew,  transport, and store them more easily. The edges are painted black to make them less apparent when the reef is assembled. An assortment of boxes, foam, and bubble wrap will create height and fill the breast shapes to all their glory. When I assemble, I will cover the support materials with black fabric and tack the edges in place to prevent shifting . (People cannot resist touching it!)

I will send installation shots as soon as they are available!

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.