Tiny Worlds

I don’t know anyone who at some point in their lives were not fascinated by miniature worlds; be they in the form of dollhouses, puppetering, or leggos and erector sets (the ultimate in miniturized building!).  It’s also no wonder that so many of us adults still make it a point to go see the Christmas windows at Neimans / Macy’s / Barneys (pick your price bracket) which almost always are elaborately composed scenes created using smaller-scale dolls, mannequins, and papier-mache creatures of dream and nightmare.

I figure this is the same reason that normal, sane adults are so taken by the wee, the tiny, and the twee (that’s wee and tiny put together).  Things like this make us screw up our eyes and force us to move in closer, while putting us in touch with those delicious feelings of youth. In this example, there are tiny concrete boxes with little itty bitty plants growing inside:  I love both the use of concrete and plants, but also the fact they managed to make it wearable.  Genius! (p.s., these are available on etsy.com)

nature necklace

And then, there are these tiny aquatic environments.  If some of you who saw us at one fo the outdoor shows might recall, we *tried* to create small hanging fish bowls using lightbulbs and wine glasses that have been strung and tied to hang from a hook.  Nature had her way with these hanging environments, tossing them around in high breezes and nearly boiling their little fishy inhabitants in high heat before I just had way too many protests about the cruelty factor.  We eventually agreed that as cool as it ‘could’ be, this idea just never panned out as hoped. (they did however work well as cut flower holders!)

Jeweled goblet showing detail

This creation was much smaller in reality than in this photo, lol!  This little fish did okay for a while but I eventually returned her to the larger 20 gallon tank.  She seemed dazed and confused before I did so – probably a lack of oxygen coupled with the tiny space freaked her out.

Now, an example of doing it right: *This* is a great way of creating a true underwater environment in which no fish/shrimp/snails have been harmed – the wonderful marimo ball!  Japanese myth hold that these little algae balls (which supposedly do continue to grow) bring good luck; as such, I need to get a hold of a LOT of these adorable green suckers.  Don’t they look fantastic in these lightbulb vases?  Again, genius! 

marimo ball bulb aquarium

And then there’s this incredibly artistic tree perched on a ring; the ultimate in tiny worlds.

tree ring

The Underwater World of Christine Cousteau

I dressed up as Jacques Cousteau for Halloween.. in COLLEGE.  Yes, I was *that* geekazoid, walking down Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado wearing what was more oft-mistaken for a Ghost Busters suit (matching backpack/ray gun assembly) than SCUBA gear.  But now you understand why this article made me so happy: 


How did I miss this new aquarium methodology?  How did it whiz right over my head, while I was harboring a pefectly good 20 gallon fish tank right here in my living room?  I’ll admit, my live plants never did as well as the fish.  (I credit my awesome filtration unit for the fish)  But I always secretly wanted to have this lush, green, almost (dare I say) GLAMOROUS underwater environment!?  To see these pictures by the amazing Japanese photographer mentioned in the article, one can envision swimming alongside manatees or barricudas in the tropical waterways and riverbottoms of such great rivers as the Congo and the Amazon.  What’s so lovely about this new concept in aqua-scaping is that one pays more attention to the plants than to the fish.  This results in a miniturized landscape, with hills and valleys and cliffs and dells…  the (tiny tetra) fish swoop up and over these like flocks of birds seen at a distance.  So mesmerizing.  So poetic. 




Fish are phenomenal

I cannot tell you how much I adore the underwater environment.  One of my memorable accomplishments was acquiring a really old fish tank from the 8th grade Physical Science home room when my teacher agreed to sell it to me for $10.  I had to first clean it out (let me tell you, years of neglect told in the strata of algae, fungus, and ultimately mildew layered into the gravel at the bottom of this rusty, square metal box) and haul it away.  I reminded myself that it was “character building,” and for once, I have my father to thank for this, it actually was. 

Now many years later, I’m still looking for ways to incorporate our fine finned friends into daily room-scapes, and I’ve come across this idea.  I call the Fish Abodes.  They are small homes for one beta fish:

Fish Abode with small denizen

 Some folks get these little aquascapes – some don’t.  I’ll admit they are a hard sell at outdoor markets, where the gusts of wind blow all of our stuff around and I cannot really set up and market my items the way I’d really like for them to be seen.  These sales are temporary – from four to seven hours long – and so we mock up one ‘fish abode’ complete with the fish, gravel, and sometimes greenery.  More often than not, if we sell any of the fish abodes, they are usually the models with the live fish.  And usually I feel it necessary to throw the fish into the deal, since there is usually a child involved who is attracted to the fish.  Seeing myself at this age, with this insane love of fish… there’s no way I can refuse.  Here’s another one: 

The neat thing about these is that you can hang them in a window, doorway, or any open space in your house – including a corner of your office.  For those who are working with feng shui, this can be a nice addition of color and life into a ‘dead’ space. 

More later, Chris