Friday, July 17, 2009

First Day of Artscape 2009

I've just logged 9.5 hours at Artscape, so apologies if this is a little incoherent or rushed. But I really want to power through so I can give some first impressions of the day, and to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing people who stopped by the table. When I had one of my compost worms in my hand and looked up to see a sudden interested crowd, it made my day. I loved having you all smell my home-made soap, ask technical questions about the solar oven that I had no idea how to answer, exclaim that you also have Borax at the house, and think that my idea to use a filing cabinet drawer as a planter is really cool. It was fun meeting you all!

And thanks to Marian for putting this show together. Isn't her "Do Something" sign great? Plus it's always exciting seeing your name in print :p

I'm starting to crash from the excitement high, my throat is a bit sore from talking so much, and I've been touching compost, grain alcohol tinctures, and soap all day. But it was totally worth it- there was definitely no other table at Artscape with these kinds of home sustainability projects. (There is apparently a girl baking with a solar oven, so I'm going to have to track her down tomorrow! Too rainy for much baking today anyway...)

I will now interrupt this broadcast with a photo of a garden in a shopping cart from the show's decorations (which will be donated to a community garden on Sunday:

As I expected from the wonderful public extravaganza that Artscape is, a great variety of folks stopped by the table. From expectant moms who wanted to know more about the all-natural cleaning powers of vinegar and baking soda, to apartment dwellers curious to learn more about small-space worm composting, to pros who help send solar ovens to Africa and work in community gardens.

My biggest surprise was that getting people to smell my homemade laundry soap was a real draw! I noticed a lot of folks really wanted to interact with the objects in some way. So I had them smelling the soap, the ginger plant shoots, the dried herbs. Everyone made pleasant "hmmm" sounds after smelling the soap, because it smells exactly like what you want laundry to smell like (hard to describe, but just imagine people making pleasantly surprised sounds :)

Sometimes I felt a little silly, like some kind of anti-chemical paranoid, because of all the natural cleaning stuff, but once I explained that my homemade stuff is also cheaper and uses less plastic containers, I felt more common-sensical, and I think I came across a little more like a smart consumer and less like a green freak. Although everyone was going crazy for

Of course, the container gardening was awesome as a display because it's so easy and also it's not really scary, at least not like composting or making your own cleaning supplies. It was nice to have a variety of projects for people, and fun to see which projects attracted people and why.

I got to answer a range of questions, from "Where's the best farmer's market in Baltimore?" to "Why did my compost get so smelly?" to "What's the best way to clean a greasy frying pan naturally?"


1. I like the main one under the Rt. 83 underpass because it's such a festival atmosphere and it smells good from the barbeque. Although it gets crowded, so go early.

2. Make sure you have enough air holes in your compost container, and make sure to rotate it to let air in. Also, mix in a lot of woody materials like paper or leaves.

3. Get a cast iron skillet. That way, no soap is needed- you can pour in boiling water, or scrub the pan with salt. The oil coating is actually good for the pan.

Anyway, I'm rambling and feel like I've only said about half of what I wanted to say. I'd post more photos but since the "green" section of Artscape is located in the parking garage, the photos turned out kind of poorly. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, so maybe they will turn out better. And maybe I'll get some solar-baked cakes to go with a smoothie made from a bike-powered machine!

And, even though it's a crappy photo, I post this to give you a general idea of my set-up (I swear, it looks much better in person!)

See you all tomorrow and Sunday!


1 comment:

Justin S said...

You have to post the recipe for your laundry soap!

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