In a city full of foliage but limited garden space, Mollie Tarte believes house plants could be the solution. The local floral designer and self-proclaimed “plant hoarder” started her pop-up shop Terraria to explore how plants can be integrated into homes and small spaces. Tarte combines small house plants--often succulents--with a variety of glass, metal and woven containers. A few of the products include geometric glass terrariums, as well as handmade air plant himmelis (hanging shapes made of brass and copper) and kokedamas (moss ball vessels with macramé hangers).
“I start with [plants] that someone can take care of and not kill, and then I pick out containers and things that will do well in terrariums,” Tarte says. Designing spaces for plants is nothing novel for Tarte, who has worked with plants and container design at a nursery for the past couple of years.
About a year ago, she began to think about creating work of her own, and she tried her luck at a craft fair. The tiny table brought success and thus Terraria was born. Last weekend, Tarte opened her pop-up at the University Street Fair to a flurry of customers and positive responses.
“I had no idea what to expect,” Tarte says. “It was raining in the morning, and I was worried I was going to have to go home with all these plants, but it went really well.” While many buyers asked about a permanent location, Terraria will likely continue as a pop-up business —Tarte and her creations will fill a table at this summer’s Solstice Festival in Fremont, as well as the South Lake Union market. The faces that she encounters at these events, the nature and even the rain, hold a special place in Tarte’s heart, and compel her to remain in the city where she grew up.
“There are a lot of young people here,” she says. “A lot of people live in apartments and can’t have a garden, but maybe they have a little porch and still want to have some greenery. Plants soften spaces and make things a little more peaceful.” She has maximized this plant-filled approach to living in her own environment. Tarte said that she installed hanging bars from all of her windows to ensure “tons and tons of plants” would find a home. While the business will continue to be a weekend job for the floral designer, she hopes that her creations will bring as much peace and happiness to other peoples’ lives as they do to hers.
To see the latest creations and keep up to date on the next pop-up location, visit facebook.com/terraria