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aspect to it ... I think people feel like they can
make it their own and they’re not so intimidated,”
Queens resident Kenya Salley, who has
watched YouTube videos about how to make
terrariums, came with two friends for a belated
birthday celebration. She thought, “Let me see
if I can do it.”
Participants can choose to build a home for
succulents, which require dirt, or air plants,
which don’t need to be rooted and can live on
top of pebbles or moss.
Given my low success rate with succulents, I
chose to go with two air plants. I laid down a
couple of inches of pebbles. The instructors
reminded me to add enough height so the display
would be visible. When making these, Fiorentinos
asked us to envision where it would be
situated in our homes: What would the vantage
point be? Would you be looking at it eye level,
from above or from below?
She said participants build camaraderie during
the process, and she was right. We passed
moss and pebbles back and forth and walked
around, checking out each others’ creations.
“There’s laughter and shared excitement,”
she said. “People just naturally want to support
I didn’t have a vision in mind, but I didn’t
expect to incorporate toys. Then I saw a plastic
tree that matched the colors of my pebbles
and moss, and once I placed it inside the glass,
I realized I needed some creatures to sit underneath.
I found a toy fairy with a very lifelike face
who was stretched out and leaning on her forearms,
and chose her as the focal point.
Things moved quickly after that — she needed
sidekicks. I announced I needed to add a dog,
and multiple people passed them to me as they
sifted through the toys and found them. I found
an orange puppy to place inside. It was cute, but
didn’t stand out. The woman next to me agreed
when I said I needed a lighter dog to pop. I ended
up with a small white puppy and a thin white
goat flanking my fairy. It looked just right.
Other creations included a Caribbeanthemed
terrarium, an underwater world and a
mossy succulent home for a toy horse.
About halfway through, Fiorentinos encouraged
people who were overthinking or doubting
their creations to do what she calls a “walkaway”
— get up, walk around and come back.
“When I do classes with kids, they finish in 15
minutes,” Fiorentinos said. “They know exactly
what they want to do. Adults get stuck being
Photos courtesy of Luludi Living Art