Something in the Water, 2011

crocheted, discarded plastic bags

When I learned that mothers are passing toxins to their newborns through breast milk, it hit me like a ton of bricks. How could we have let this most sacred rite be tainted with such disregard for the world’s resources?

Plastic, the most prevalent component of ocean debris, threatens life on earth because it persists so long in the water. Over time, plastic breaks down into tinier and tinier bits that actually absorb other toxic chemicals. Fish that eat plankton feed mistakenly on the tiny particles. Toxins then leach into fish tissues as they work their way up the food chain. Scientists believe that some of the toxins commonly found in breast milk may have originated from this source.

It occurred to me that many women who like to crochet and/or who have environmental concerns might be interested in participating in an international, collaborative eco-art project to address this issue. The response was overwhelming! Three groups formed in Pittsburgh and from there it spread as far as Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines.

Visit our blog to find out more about the project:


“Artists and Environmental Change: the Elusive Power of Contemporary Art”, Artes Magazine, October 14, 2011, Elaine King

“Artists grapple with uses and misuses of water”, Pittsburgh City Paper, June 16, 2011, Robert Raczka

“American Jewish Museum’s new exhibition examines our relationship with water”, Jewish Chronicle, June 2, 2011

“Too Shallow for Diving: Artists pour out ideas on water issues facing mankind” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 11, 2011, Mary Thomas

“Something in the Water: Crocheters recycle plastic bags into a reef of awareness” Interweave Crochet, Winter 2011, Sharon Zientra  At first glance Wendy Osher’s piece might be mistaken for a coral reef formation…”