Monday, July 7, 2008

Lux Magazine

Lux Magazine is a Pittsburgh publication that I wrote articles for - but due to some financial issues they have yet to be published. I am not sure if they will ever get published... sigh.

So I am posting the articles here instead... there are 3 of them.

Bike Pittsburgh

Going green and making a conscious effort for an environmentally friendly lifestyle is more than just using recycled goods and protecting Mother Earth. It is also about reducing fuel consumption and the pollutants that are emitted from our cars. It seems in today’s society that driving has just become a way of life as public transportation is not always readily available.

Bike Pittsburgh’s aims include changing the biking image and to prove that biking is a safe and reliable form of transportation. Not only do they promote biking and all the health benefits that come along with it, Bike Pittsburgh also promotes the environment. They make people aware of being oil dependent and the pollution that is caused by motor vehicles. Also, Bike Pittsburgh is working with their stakeholders to improve streets, bridges and trails to make our city safe for cyclists.

Since 2002, Bike Pittsburgh has been striving to make Pittsburgh a bike-friendly city. They started with answering questions and training and moved on to bringing cyclists in to improve Pittsburgh. It is through these efforts that the city has become a safe and welcoming atmosphere for biking. Bike Pittsburgh’s staff actively meets with government officials to ensure the city is constantly improving its cycling environment.

Bike Pittsburgh’s website is full of helpful tips on bike education and directions on how to get around Pittsburgh. It is important for cyclists to not only know their way around the city but to feel safe while biking. It is a goal of Bike Pittsburgh to provide both as well as being an advocate for cyclists within the city.

There are several ways to get involved with Bike Pittsburgh. The easiest is to just get on your bike and ride. Instead of grabbing those car keys, grab your bike and ride to work or to the store or to visit friends. Granted that might be easier said than done. If you live in the city, then it will be easier to bike to work than if you live in the suburbs, but don’t fret, there are ways for the suburban’s to get involved too.

The first thing to do is become a member of Bike Pittsburgh, which you can join by visiting the website ( Not only will you get copies of the newsletter and be able to use your membership fee as a tax deduction, your membership money will be used to keep bikers safe.

If you want to get involved with Bike Pittsburgh but feel you have two left feet and no sense of balance, there are still things you can do, such as becoming an advocate for the group. By talking to your local officials about the program, you can encourage them to start thinking cycle friendly by building trails for cyclists.

If you would like to find out more on Bike Pittsburgh, you can visit their website or phone them at 412.325.4334.

Now, get out there and cycle Pittsburgh!

Fresh Heirlooms

Recycling can be an art form, by taking used items and transforming them into something new and beautiful. That is exactly what is done at Fresh Heirlooms, located on Butler Street in Pittsburgh. They take reclaimed items and create "unique home furnishings."

Many people are becoming more environmentally conscious today with the rising threat of global warming and landfills running out of room. Recycling has taken on an important role in many communities to reuse goods that would otherwise end up in the landfills. Why not bring those items in as pieces of art, as conversation pieces with a real history?

Lindsay Woge came up with the idea of Fresh Heirlooms as a result of her interest in "the intersection of art and science. Creating functional works of art from materials otherwise bound for the landfill." An example of this would be taking old bike chains and making clocks or picture frames out of them.

Many of the pieces that are created are one-of-a-kind and made right in the Fresh Heirlooms workshop. There are a few pieces that they carry which come from other artists within the United States.

While many of the pieces are created with items that they have, if someone comes in with an item that they want fabricated into something else, Fresh Heirlooms will take on the challenge in fashioning it into a precious piece.

Free mini-workshops are offered for customers to come in and create a unique piece of their own. Fresh Heirlooms hopes to offer more in-depth workshops on a regular basis in the near future. Woge is pleased that they will be offering a summer program for children from the 10th Ward. The program is sponsored by Operation Weed and Seed and will focus on how to reuse materials creatively. An example of projects will be creating different pieces out of newspaper, such as making origami or making pulp.

On March 15th Fresh Heirlooms hosted a celebration of all things green. It was to honor Mother Earth and St. Patrick's Day weekend. They not only offered a green-dot sale but also complimentary refreshments and chances to win Celtic-knot inspired pieces. The event also showcased work produced by local "salvage artists" and traditional Celtic music by David Shelow.

If you are looking for a piece of artwork or furniture that has history or character then Fresh Heirlooms is a great place to find it. Not only will the piece have a minimal effect on the environment, it very well could be custom made for that one empty corner of the room that you just have no idea how to fill.

Fresh Heirlooms loves their customers and will take the time to tell them how the piece was created and where the items came from. Many of their pieces are posted on their website or they can be viewed in person at the store, located at 5218 Butler Street. They have metered parking a few doors down. The store is open Tuesday – Saturday 11 – 6.


Let's cover Pittsburgh in clay, or more specifically ceramic art. That is exactly what the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) wanted to do when it moved its annual conference from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, giving birth to Cera[m!x] Pittsburgh. While this marked the 42nd year for the conference it was the first time it was held in Pittsburgh. The conference brings together some of the finest educators and ceramic artists. This truly is "a whole new spin on the world of clay!" as Joshua Green, On-Site Conference Liaison, states.

The thought of Cera[m!x] Pittsburgh started August-2007 with an official media launch. Green was amazed that within such a short time the community of artists was full-in involved. The NCECA not only had the support of artists and educators, but also support and donations from individual and corporate foundations.

The Cera[m!x] conference took place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center during March 19-22, which included registrants of over 5,000 artists and enthusiasts. The conference was hosted by The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild as a way to help connect the organization and its members to the community of Pittsburgh.

Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth and Arts became involved with Cera[m!x] because of their mission to educate and inspire youth through the arts. As a result of this shared key strategy, Cera[m!x] Pittsburgh and the MCG seemed an ideal partnership. Other goals include maintaining a strong sense of community programming and developing network opportunities. This network would represent already established artists and educators, but also encourage those from K-12 through the university level to get involved in the arts community. It is a place where information and techniques can be shared.

If you are an artist, curator or even a collector, you can join NCECA. Green states that the membership is for the "extremely dedicated and passionate about the organization as can be seen through is extremely well-attended conference. Our hope was to build the kind of exposure for ceramic arts and access to ceramics experiences that community members like these would visit exhibitions, purchase artworks and get their hands into clay."

Because of the overwhelming response from the past Cera[m!x] conference, Green hopes that it will serve as an indicator that the artists and venue will remain active in the city of Pittsburgh. To keep the momentum going, there will be a post-conference/workshop held at Slippery Rock University in April. Green also stated that "MCG anticipates sustaining the Cera[m!x] Pittsburgh website over a three-year period."

For more information on Cera[m!x] Pittsburgh you can go to their website at where you can learn about upcoming events and workshops. If you have a specific question or interested in volunteering or participating in events please contact Joshua Green at