Browsing through the San Francisco shop General Store recently, I noticed some highly covetable, bulbous glass globes filled with tiny succulents: terrariums by the local designer Katie Goldman Macdonald, of Botany Factory. Macdonald works with Evan Kolker, an Oakland-based glass artist, to create organically shaped glass forms, which she fills with mini-gardens that are nearly self-sufficient, requiring only sunlight and occasional spritzing. My kind of gardening!
I wrote to Macdonald, curious to hear a bit more about her inspirations, her design approach, and how she came to the terrarium trade. Here's what she had to say:
"I began my early days accompanying my botanist father on wildflower classification walks through the woods in Half Moon Bay. Ever after, I've wanted to work with plants. A clothing designer by day, working with something more natural, organic and alive is really fulfilling. I started making terrariums when I moved to the city a few years ago after college. The one tragedy about living in an apartment is not having a yard. Tending tiny indoor gardens is a great way to remedy that."
"Much like creating a ship in a bottle, terrarium building takes a small, dexterous hand, a collection of minute tools, and a keen interest in petite plant life and clever composition. When designing a terrarium, I think about color, texture and composition while considering which plants will thrive and how they will mingle and grow together. My glass forms are modeled after animal shapes: Kiwi, Manatee, Armadillo. I'm designing a new one that will be called Sloth, a bulbous, wall mounted form."