By Marty Bass

Hi everyone!

It is the first full day of spring, so what better time to bid farewell to Baltimore’s most iconic winter feature, the salt box? And what better person to spend the day with than Juliet Ames, the brain behind those memorable salt box displays?

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Ames is a local artist who specializes in jewelry fashioned from broken ceramic objects. Her artwork offers fun ideas for any occasion, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for Christmas, a birthday or an anniversary.

But don’t take my word for it–check out her wares for yourself. You can find Ames’ inventory on her aptly named website, ibreakplates.com.

Jewelry aside, Ames spends two months out of the year on the Salt Box project.

Some background: this all started with a lonely yellow box in her neighborhood. Like so many others, it was filled with the salt-and-sand mixture you spread under your tires to add some traction or sprinkle on your walkway for better footing.

There are between 900 and 1,600 of these salt boxes in Baltimore. During the pandemic, the boxes were left out and many, like Juliet’s, showed signs of wear. So, she made a false front that said, in ceramics, “Salt Box,” and bolted it on.

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And the rest, as they say, is history.

The city liked the idea and began encouraging other artists to get creative. Ames coordinated the impromptu project, and it took off. Social media helped amplify the artwork’s visibility and allowed everyone to enjoy Ames’ work and others’.

That’s how, in a time marked by so much confusion and uncertainty, these little salt boxes became a glimmer of levity and hope to so many. It was almost as if they told us, “We can keep some humor and get through this all together.”

And today, we got a glimpse at the first salt box panel for next winter. This one, made by Ames herself, features a depiction of a fine lady who you and I both know well. And, of course, it brought a smile to that special lady’s face.

Marty B!

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