The terrific art of terrarium


Ornamental hobby: Ng making a terrarium at her house in Johor Baru. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Janis Ng Swee Inn has taken her love for plants and passion for art to the next level by conducting terrarium-crafting classes.

A former artist, Ng said a terrarium is an “aquarium” where items such as stones, moss and small plants are arranged in a glass container to create miniature gardens suitable as indoor decorations.

“My husband has been teaching and selling bonsai plants for over 15 years. It started out as a hobby when he was working as a technician in Singapore.

“About five years ago, he decided to make it full time. I share the same interest in plants, and at that time, I was also making terrariums for fun.

“Some of his customers then started asking about the terrariums as I have also made some for the bonsai plants he sells.

“I then decided to conduct classes to teach people the craft while also selling them from our home, ” she said when met at her house at Taman Daya here.

She has since taught about 600 people, from as young as five and all the way up to 70.

“I started off by teaching about eight students at a time in my house. I would post information about my class online, and frequently attend art fairs and exhibitions.

“I was later invited to teach at schools, kindergartens and colleges, ” she said.

Ng also frequently conducts workshops in cafes around Johor Baru.

“I feel that it is a very therapeutic hobby that is easy to learn.

“It also allows people to be creative with their designs, and they can mix and match a variety of moss, stones and ornaments to fit their taste, ” she said, adding that people could also use any kind of glass container they have, including jam and cookie jars.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, she can no longer conduct classes and workshops.

“Instead of conducting classes, I now sell DIY (do it yourself) kits that come with items such as moss and small stones, along with step-by-step instructions on how to make a terrarium.

“Customers can opt to have the kit with or without a glass container, with a basic kit selling for RM80 while the one with a glass container goes for RM160, ” she said.

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