Saturday, 23 February 2013

Where & How

Dawn, in a world that I created.
I often get asked where and how I make my terrariums. I would love to say that I have  a little greenhouse or planting room in my house, but alas, I have neither; I am merely a twenty-something living in Vancouver, and such luxuries are far outside my price range. Instead, my creative space is either the kitchen floor or counter, or sometimes my roommate's desk whilst he is away (sorry Tyler!). Such humble circumstances are favourable to my process, however, as they yield such genuine and happy results. There is something so wonderful about sitting in the midst of a bunch of lush tropical plants, picking and choosing which best compliment each other and their future owner--it all reminds me of playing in the sandbox when I was a kid. You really are creating your own little world! I guess I'm developing a serious God complex.

A dynamic mix for a dynamic customer.
There is a lot of time and thought put into each terrarium I do up: shopping for the glass; picking up rocks, soil, and moss; plant selection (the hardest part!); and finally, constructing the terrarium. The actual construction process may take me a few days. When making an order for a customer, I typically will gather all the plants I think I want to use together and arrange them next to their future vessel. I then experiment with arrangements, adding and subtracting until I think I've reached a decision. Then I take a break and let the idea rest in my head, and when I feel settled, I plant it all up. The basic recipe: rocks for drainage, charcoal for sweetness, soil for survival, plants for substance, moss for moisture (or sand and rock if I'm making a xeriscape), rocks and sticks for aesthetic. The actual planting process can be tricky. Tropical plants are generally easy to plant--they just want soil and space. Succulents can break fairly easy (but the broken bit can usually be planted themselves), and they look best when crowded together, so it is kind of like making a puzzle. And cacti? Well if you get cacti in your terrarium, know that I must like you because it takes DAYS to get all those little hairs and thorns out of your fingers, even if you're wearing gloves! But I love cacti, so it's totally worth it! 

Lush tropical greens for my own terrarium
I always try to keep my customer in mind, and I do my best to interpret part of their personality in the terrarium. Take for instance the Calzone (pictured in my previous post): it was made for my boss at JJ Bean. She is a feisty  eccentric young lady with a tough side, but so full of love and definitely worth knowing. Translated into plants, I instantly thought of succulents, cacti, and sanseveria. She also claims to kill plants, and that group of plants happily takes care of itself. As another example, I'm working on a terrarium now for a woman who is probably one of the most positive people I've ever met, so I'm using yellows and pinks. 

The whole process, from order to completion, takes a couple of days depending on the size of the order. I strive to be timely in my production, but I also don't want to rush myself to create a terrarium that has no heart. It is my sincerest hope that my customers enjoy my creations as much as I do!

A lush Moroccan-themed terrarium.
A stately and brilliant terrarium for a law office.

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