Our Town: Mill Centre Artist Studios

From inside her studio in the century-old former cotton sail cloth mill in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, Juliet Ames ’05 has created some of the city’s saltiest art.

Juliet Ames

During the pandemic, Ames, an art major with a concentration in crafts, got the idea to attach snazzy letters made of broken china to a plain yellow city-issued salt box. A photo of her creation went viral, and about 120 boxes later they’ve evolved from just letters to images featuring local favorites like Billie Holiday and Old Bay.

She’s been on “Good Morning America” and the subject of an article in New Yorker magazine, in which filmmaker John Waters said, “Baltimore salt boxes went from being the most ignored city property to Banksy-bait in one single good idea.” Turning broken plates into jewelry is her main gig, but now she’s better known as the salt box lady.

“My favorite thing,” she says, “is to make the goofiest ideas reality.”