I discovered New York City botanical artist Paula Hayes while on my morning jog through the east village. I kept passing this mysterious shop window on E13th street full of beautiful glass terrariums, and curiosity got the better of me. Turns out this was no ordinary boutique gardening shop. Hayes has become an international art star for her living sculptures: glass-blown hand-crafted terrariums and other pieces which integrate conceptual art with plants.
Although her mini-biosphere terrariums have been getting the most attention lately, Hayes has also done pieces which involve moving gardens, and living plants sewn into clothing (see below). I must say that I love this work and am very impressed by the way Hayes has managed to make a successful art career out of highlighting the connection between plants and people. She has not only made a convincing case for the interchangeableness of nature and art ? but managed to sell this idea to chi-chi art buyers whose tastes often shape the market for art and design. Of course what this means is that her beautiful hand-made pieces are way out of the price range of most normal shoppers (ie $10,000 per terrarium). While most people will probably suffer sticker?shock upon hearing this, I think it is best to view Paula Hayes’ work as an inspiration rather than something ridiculously unaffordable. Its actually pretty easy to make your own terrarium for under $100, if you just do a bit of back-end research. Inhabitat is planning to do a Terrarium how-to in the near future, so stay posted.