Archive for alyssa

Alyssa is an artist interested in architecture as it relates to human function. Enjoys drawing and painting, making things rather then buying them, roof top gardens, using a worm compost, magnetic termites, hiking, climbing and all things art, music and film. Currently, some of her favorite reading is "Overlay" by Lucy Lippard and "Design Like You Give a Damn".

Urban Revitalization: What Would You Do With Free Land?

photo courtesy of: Baltimore Infill Survey


Living almost anywhere you’re probably familiar with at least one or two abandoned buildings, left unattended for years and years. Here in Baltimore you can scan whole blocks of vacancies. These sore-spots have become the inspiration for small and large efforts to revitalize some of the staggering 40,000 vacant homes and abandoned lots through innovation, idea building and conversation. One such project called Baltimore Infill Survey has just sent me a notification by email this morning. Their idea is, if you had it your way, what would you do with an abandoned lot or vacant space? This project originally came out of an idea which was presented at the 2008 Bioneers Conference this past November. Organized as a breakout session called Urban Economic Development and Visionary Green Design and Development, the project brought together architects, developers and urban critics. They came up with a pre-fab building concept called The Plant which would serve energy needs of the surrounding residents, within a mile radius. Read more about what I wrote in November here or here at Urban Palimpsest.

Make your claim and join the project . Really, what would you do!??

Recycled Glass is Limitless

photo: unknown
According to one source, the late 1960’s was the first time glass manufacturers established collection centers where people could return empty bottles, jars, and other types of glass containers. These were recycled by breaking up the glass and then melting it down with silica sand, limestone, and soda ash to make new containers. Recycling glass is 100% sustainable because it will not deteriorate with age or "down cycle", like with paper and plastic recycling. The Glass Packaging Institute , an excellent source for this topic states that, "recycling one glass bottle can save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for four hours or a computer for 30 minutes."

WhollyTerra , located in Baltimore uses recycled glass to create visually engaging works with a play on light. Steve, the owner of WhollyTerra, isn’t limited to a window transom or picture frames but makes bowls, candle-holders and other outdoor ornaments, including bird houses. I recently found a happy customer and Baltimore resident here.

A sampling of sources for reclaimed, repurposed, and recycled glass items:

Maryland Mosaic is a full service supply company offering everything for mosaic tile work to the beginner and the experienced artist. They offer the Organiks line, which is a 100% recycled glass mosaic tile. This is great news for the East Coast! Until recently, the only source for this was out of  California.

The Green Glass Company is based in Weston, Wisconsin. They are the largest producer of reclaimed glassware in the world. Known best for their patented winebottle-to-glass, they also make vases, candle holders, and a clever coatrack. Their products are available in a number of Baltimore-area stores; check their store locator for up-to-date information.

You can even build a Buddhist Temple with glass bottles. The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, about 600 km (370 miles) northeast of Bangkok, is better known as "Wat Lan Kuad" or "Temple of Million Bottles."

Find other Bmore crafts at the Baltimore By Hand blog.

Comment and tell us your recycled glass ideas!
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Why Free Range Eggs Are Better For You

The egg has been an important part of our diet for centuries. Hens have been domesticated in Europe since 600 B.C. and were probably first brought to the New World by Columbus in 1493. Offering 13 essential nutrients, it’s no wonder the egg has remained a staple for this long. According to Mother Earth News, hens raised in a pasture and on a plant-based diet produce eggs that have:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

If you’re finding that free range organic eggs from the store just aren’t the right price, consider owning a few hens. The city allows up to three, as long as they are at least 20-25ft from any one resident. That’s perfect for any row home in Baltimore. I’ll be helping a neighbor build a chicken coop come spring, next to the Remington Village Green Community Garden . Check back in the next couple weeks for more hen info, progress on the coop design and other experiments!

Poster Restoration

photo by: alyssa

The Poster Restoration Company has been specializing in archival canvas mounting and paper restoration of vintage, prints, posters and lobby cards for over 20 years. Owner Sei Peterson, a musician and artist in his own right, is a master of his craft and employs a talented team of graduates from the Maryland Institute College of Art . Located just blocks from Penn Station and the Charles Theater .

Baltimore Treasures

photo by: alyssa

A couple of years ago, I worked for a Poster Restoration Company and walked passed this impressive fence design every day. I knew nothing of its creator, but could tell that the posts are made from chunks of salvaged concrete. Natural builders have coined the name "urbanite" for this repurposed concrete material. (Yes — that’s "urbanite" — same name as our beloved local magazine !) I was particularly impressed with the detailed wood cuts that form so nicely around the posts.

Read on to see other uses for urbanite. Continued

Fun is Found in Restoring the Bay

photos courtesy of: VoiCes
"VoiCeS , which began in 2004, creates a deeper understanding of the Bay and the efforts to restore it. This professionally-taught, two-part program, meets each week (for eight weeks) and includes field trips and participant-led community projects. You’ll learn about the Bay’s biology, the issues we face, and how you and your community can help its restoration."

Connect to the GOforChange CollectiveX calender to search dates and locations.

The Clean Coal “?”: March On March 2nd

photos courtesy of: GreenPeace

Dear Friends,

There are moments in a nation’s—and a planet’s—history when it may be necessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We think such a time has arrived, and we are writing to say that we hope some of you will join us in Washington D.C. on Monday March 2 in order to take part in a civil act of civil disobedience outside a coal-fired power plant near Capitol Hill.

We will be there to make several points:
#Coal-fired power is driving climate change. Our foremost climatologist, NASA’s James Hansen, has demonstrated that our only hope of getting our atmosphere back to a safe level—below 350 parts per million co2—lies in stopping the use of coal to generate electricity.
# Even if climate change were not the urgent crisis that it is, we would still be burning our fossil fuels too fast, wasting too much energy and releasing too much poison into the air and water. We would still need to slow down, and to restore thrift to its old place as an economic virtue.
#Coal is filthy at its source. Much of the coal used in this country comes from West Virginia and Kentucky, where companies engage in "mountaintop removal" to get at the stuff; they leave behind a leveled wasteland, and impoverished human communities. No technology better exemplifies the out-of-control relationship between humans and the rest of creation.
#Coal smoke makes children sick. Asthma rates in urban areas near coal-fired power plants are high. Air pollution from burning coal is harmful to the health of grown-ups too, and to the health of everything that breathes, including forests.

Continued