Furnishings take it easy on environmentFree-lance designer...


Furnishings take it easy on environment

Free-lance designer Inna Alesina has created a lot of things in her career -- wristwatches, furniture, an infant drinking cup -- but when she designs for herself, everything is green.

That's green as in environmentally friendly; Alesina uses recycled materials such as egg cartons, drinking straws and shredded paper to create household objects that are functional and mysteriously beautiful. Her Good Egg ottoman ($150) is made from egg crates stacked, shaped, and strapped together. The inside of the egg can be used to store magazines; turned on its side, it can become the base for a coffee table. Her 1,000 & 1 straw lamp ($120) is made of cast-off (but unused, of course) drinking straws and a recycled soda bottle. It comes in white, yellow, orange, green, pink, red and purple, and in table or hanging styles.

To order, or for more information, call Alesina at 410-580-0699.

A quilted history

An exhibit called "A Quartet of Quilts," featuring quilts made up of thousands of small pieces of fabric, opens Saturday at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center at Colonial Williamsburg. One of the quilts, a child's bed cover, is attributed to Jewett Washington Curtis (1847-1927), who served in the Union army during the Civil War. It is estimated that he used nearly 11,000 patches in the small coverlet.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 4. Admission is through a museum ticket ($11) or other Williamsburg ticket packages. For hours and more information, call 757-220-7698, or visit the Web site at www.colonialwilliamsburg.org.

In the company of Beatrix Potter

For adults, one of the delights of the work of English storyteller and illustrator Beatrix Potter is that so many of her settings are still preserved and accessible. Susan Denyer, who works for Britain's National Trust, developed an interest in Potter while working in the Lakes District of England, site of Potter's Hill Top Cottage, and of many other places that can be seen in the details of Potter's famous tales of Peter Rabbit and his other farm and field friends.

Denyer's interest has turned into a book, "At Home with Beatrix Potter: Creator of Peter Rabbit" (Abrams, $24.95). Sketches from the books are juxtaposed with photos of their real-life counterparts, and Denyer captures the character of both Potter and her surroundings. Available at bookstores nationwide.


This year's Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage starts Thursday with Baltimore's Roland Park neighborhood, and includes tours of Homewood House and Evergreen House museums, plus a dozen private residences in the area. Self-guided tours begin at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Tickets for each of the daylong tours are $20 and can be bought on the day of the event at any of the houses, or in advance from the tour office, 1105-A Providence Rd., Towson, Md. 21286-1790. Tour booklets are free with tickets or gift certificates. For more information, call 410-821-6933 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays. Future sites of the statewide roving pilgrimage are: Queen Anne's County on Saturday;Talbot County on Sunday; Anne Arundel County, May 6; St. Mary's County, May 7; Harford County, May 9; and the Ruxton area of Baltimore County, May 13.

Nineteen ceramic and polymer artists from around the country have submitted items to Baltimore Clayworks' third annual Clay & Polymer Jewelry Exhibition and Sale. The event opens with a free reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and continues through May 13. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The gallery is at 5706 Smith Ave. in Mount Washington. For more information, call 410-578-1919.

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