Every winter season they appear along roads in Baltimore City. Faded yellow boxes filled with rock salt to help with icy conditions. This year, thanks to local artists and community members, the old wooden boxes are getting attention.
“I’ve always been charmed by the Salt Boxes scattered around Baltimore City,” according to local jewelry maker Juliet Ames, who saw something more than sad, dingy street boxes. “When they show up on street corners in the late fall, I get excited thinking that a snow day could be around the corner. For those not familiar with these boxes, they are yellow wooden boxes with a hinged lid that are (usually) filled with salt to help residents when it snows.”
As owner of the Broken Plate Co., Ames applied her skills for the first salt box creation (seen above) using the talents from her business, creating jewelry out of broken pieces of dishes, vases, and wedding china.
As Ames describes it, Broken Plate Co. is where boxed up, unloved, dishes from Grandma come alive and are given a renewed purpose: “I break each and every plate with love, crafting them into collections of inspired and versatile jewelry and art pieces.”
“I was shocked when I got a reply from Baltimore City Department of Transportation,” she shared on her website. “They loved it and encouraged artists to get creative! This is the best ever outcome to me.”
Ames inspired others and the dozens of creations are tagged on a map and shared on social media, including Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #SaltBoxArt.
There’s even a Marty Bass salt box, featuring the WJZ-TV weather forecaster, who tweeted: “Hell with Emmy Awards, not everyone gets their likeness on a salt box!”
For anyone who wants to participate in the salt box project, visit ibreakplates.com for supply recommendations and installation instructions.