Three Rs of Earth Day


April 22, 2001|By Julie Klavens | Julie Klavens,Sun Staff

Earth Day reminds us today that simple acts can save the planet. With the average American producing about twice as much garbage as the average European, it's time to embrace the three Rs: reduce (use less of everything), reuse (before you toss anything in a trashcan, consider: can you find a second or third use for it?) and recycle (interpret this broadly: buy antique furniture and vintage clothing or trade with friends when you crave something new). The following items celebrate our Earth.

From disaster comes light

After the cataclysmic eruption in 1980 of Mount St. Helens, most saw, naturally enough, problems; artisan Hank Claycamp saw possibilities.

Shortly after the eruption, he walked through the ash and realized he could make glass from it. The studio he founded, Mount St. Helens Volcanic Ash Glassworks, crafts bowls, vases, paperweights, ornaments, birdfeeders, and -- our favorites -- various oil-filled and electrical lamps.

The Everlite lamps -- small, luminous, hand-blown globes -- are filled with oil and lighted; one vendor suggests using scented oil for an aromatherapeutic boost. Designed with organic swirls and lustrous, sometimes iridescent finishes, the lamps are a reminder of nature's beauty as well as its staggering power.

The Mount St. Helens Blown-Glass Everlite Lamps are available at and for $26.

Holding their own, beautifully

For those who would rather look at their vegetables than eat them, artist Margaret Dorfman has the answer: She creates decorative bowls from ethereal wisps of fruits and vegetables during a 10- to 12-day process in which zucchini, beets, peppers and papayas, among others, are sliced, cured, pressed and aged.

Delicate and translucent, the bowls retain the characteristics of their natural sources -- one can discern the fibers of the vegetation. The bowls are ideal for a centerpiece, or as a hostess gift that will never be forgotten.

The pieces are available for $28 each at www.

The hull truth

With their use of natural materials and a Web site that quotes Chanel and Balzac, what's not to love about Bucky products? Bucky sells travel pillows for children and adults, wrist and lumbar supports, sleep masks and other items filled with buckwheat hulls, long used as stuffing in Asia.

The pluses of buckwheat hulls: their interlocking forms provide firm, comfortable support (and a pleasing "scrunchability"); when the biodegradable hulls break down after many years, they can be dumped on a compost heap; and they reduce our reliance on synthetic stuff.

Bucky covers zip off for easy cleaning; choose from organic cotton-knit terry, fleece manufactured by Malden Mills (recognized for its progressive labor and environmental practices) and faux furs, among others.

Bucky products are priced starting at $22.95, and are available at Fresh Fields, 1330 Smith Ave., 410-532-6700, and area Bed Bath & Beyond stores; or check for other retailers.

Paper power

Paper House Productions proves that an appreciation of kitsch and wit can coexist with a social conscience.

Founded in 1983 by architect and graphic designer Jeffrey Milstein, Paper House produces an extensive line of die-cut gift enclosures and notecards that highlight what is extraordinary about ordinary life: Dorothy's shimmering ruby slippers, a Brownie camera, a velvety pansy, an image of Elvis so vibrant you can feel his hips poised to gyrate. With their bold images, these cards pack a design wallop -- and they're made from recycled paper.

Paper House enclosures and notecards are available for $1.10 and $2.50 respectively at Fields Pharmacy, 1401 Reisterstown Road, 410-486-3300; the Store Ltd. in Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road, 410-323-2350; and Fresh Fields, 1330 Smith Ave., 410-532-6700. Or, check www. paper for a store locater by ZIP code.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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