In a self-sustaining ecosystem, all the occupants (plants, animals, microorganisms, etc.) survive without constant care. Ideally, they only require minimal interventions from the outside, including adding extra water occasionally. Making your own is not really hard, but you do need to understand the process. Some of the simplest examples of self-sustaining ecosystems you can make are the self-sustaining plant terrarium or self-sustaining fish aquarium.
However, making such an environment is both an art and a science. While in both fields there are experts, these two incredible ladies, Lina Cirilo and Laura Gonçales, have mastered both to bring these amazing micro self-sustaining ecosystems. Lina and Laura have created their company back in 2013.
They create and sell tiny, self-sustaining ecosystems in glass jars, bottles, and other containers – ALL handmade. That’s why each and every one of them is unique The tiny worlds have all kinds of scenery in them, from simple camping trips to cars, to characters from Harry Potter and other popular movies.
On their website, Lina Cirilo and Laura Gonçales explain how they got started: “We started with the proposal that each person was entitled to a small piece of green. After all, we live in micro-apartments, work, walk the dogs, go to the supermarket, and suffer in traffic just to find friends. A mini-ecosystem that practically lives alone was more than necessary.”
“Our favorite part is to look at a miniature or a movie and think: ok, let’s make a Jardim no Pote®️ of that. And we dedicate ourselves for days, weeks, or even months until we reach the terrarium we were looking for.” – said the ladies.
“These green dreams, in our hands, became personalized stories. Your garden, you, and all the stories you would like to tell in a pot. Isn’t it wonderful? We started giving gifts to family and friends. Suddenly, orders started to be part of our routine. In search of a lighter life, we decided to leave our jobs as architects and jump into that dream.”
In 2014, they opened their first store at Galeria ComoAssim in Pinheiros and it was received very well! Soon, they started to give courses to other people and expanded their team.
Speaking on how they decide what to put in the pots, Lina and Laura said: “That depends. If they are personalized orders, we talk to the customer for days until we reach the point of meeting all their expectations. We paint all the miniatures by hand and create the scene the way they asked (within our means). But in general, we look at everything around us and try to replicate that in our terrariums.”
“In each piece we create, we deposit a lot of affection and attention to the smallest of details, making each piece unique and full of stories.” Their work is 100% handmade—they use raw materials, personalizing every single pot they make. They mentioned that a custom pot takes about 30 days to make.
Laura and Lina shared some of the main benefits of having one of these mini gardens: “Usually, people do not think of plants as pets. But they are! They need water, light, substrates, and affection. The benefit of having a terrarium is that it lives practically alone! It is a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem. Nowadays, not all people have space or time to care for a garden. A terrarium is a great option for those who want to have some green around, but do not have much time to dedicate.”
“As we say in our workshops: practice makes perfect. For us, it doesn’t make sense to create pieces without feeling and purpose. But to transform terrariums into art, we need a few things: like what you’re doing, know how to take care of plants and observe how they live in closed containers, like what you’re doing again, get inspired, and go for it! We are a pair of architects, passionate about the green of nature, the lightness of life and art. Come and see our work!”
If you like these terrariums, go show Laura and Lina some love and maybe even order one for your loved one!