Life in a Bottle – The Art of Terrariums

June 19, 2010 § 3 Comments

I’ve been looking at: the enclosed world of terrariums.  Recently featured in the New York Times it seems that encapsulated nature has recaptured the interest of artists. (If you are unfamiliar with the  history of terrariums, I would suggest this excellent article.)

Artists like  Paula Hayes have created unique pieces that redefine the medium.  Her handblown glass pieces come with a contractual obligation to nurture and care for the piece and the denizens inside it.

{Image courtesy of:  http://www.neublack.com/art-design/artist-paula-hayes/}

Paul Hayes Terrarium

Paula Hayes


Other artists like Andrew Craig Williams take a more imaginative spin creating a magical environment using glow in the dark polymer clay to create whimsical mushrooms.

{Image courtesy of: http://www.thefernandmossery.com/2010/02/glowing-toadstool-terrariums-by-andrew.html}

Andrew Craig Williams creates glow in the dark mushrooms for his terrarium

Andrew Craig Williams

For artists like Amy Leonard, the glass casing of a vivarium can house any number of magical knick knacks, feathers and  mosses.  Her work reminds me a bit of The Brother’s Quay in that her pieces are delightful in a somewhat frightening way.  I can imagine the slow quirky movements of disembodied dolls trying to escape from the top of the jar!

{Images courtesy of: http://lionheartdesign.blogspot.com/2007/01/dnalight-catalog.html}

Amy Leonard's display of imaginative vivariums

Amy Leonard

Amy Leonard | Untitled, Bird Caught

Amy Leonard | Untitled, Bird Caught

I have to say: while  I don’t anticipate creating any living artwork anytime soon (although its been suggested to me many times) I can appreciate the sentiments behind vivariums & terrariums.

Blogger Distinctive Vision put it best:

Its almost as if you get to play God for a minute and look down upon what you have created and think ‘this is a good thing I have done’.

As always thanks for reading & feel free to comment below.<3 Grace Willard

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