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Dossier Journal: Welcome to Dossier Journal 

In Conversation with Grow Little


Franco-American artist and photographer Kali Vermès started making terrariums to satisfy both her green thumb and creative impulses with one activity. The microcosms she creates, under the moniker Grow Little, are carefully conceived tiny, verdant worlds. Born in Paris, Kali grew up in an apartment filled with hanging plants. Her Russian photographer grandfather grew pear trees and tended a vegetable garden in his backyard in New Hampshire, and her Norman grandmother was a fervent gardener who always found the time to show off her magnificent plants. Kali began her career as a photographer and has worked with acclaimed artists such as Joel Sternfeld and Robert Wilson. Currently based in Montreuil, just outside of Paris, she curates little landscapes that bring a touch of green whimsy to the everyday.

Sarah Moroz: What incident or visual made you decide to create your first terrarium, and what then made you decide to make a career out of it?

Kali Vermès: I made my first terrarium because I wanted to make something with my hands. I was working on laying out a series of photographs I had shot at The Watermill Center and was having trouble getting this book project off the ground. During my residency at the Center, I had started to associate gardening with taking pictures, so I wanted to return to that. Combining a physical activity with a visual one was thrilling and greatly inspiring. It also stemmed from a need to watch plants grow inside my home, caring for them and protecting them during the hard winter. I was fortunate to be able to show my first terrarium at the Parisian design fair “Maison et Object” in 2010. My work was noticed there and I got some press via The Horti-Culturalist and The Cool Hunter, which started a wave of interest in my terrariums. I was touched and encouraged by the personal emails that were sent to me from around the world.

Sarah: Where do you source your materials?

Kali: My plants come from various sources, from basic nurseries to more specialized ones that have a great variety of succulents. I also find and collect specimens on day trips or weekends in the country. For example, I’ve been using a delicate wild geranium that I collected in a forest outside of Paris and that I now grow in my own little greenhouse. It adapts easily to new environments and enjoys the humidity of a terrarium but can also thrive in drier climates.
My containers are, for the most part, simple glass globes that I find in plant nurseries or in flea markets, but I am already working on designing my own hand-blown versions.
Sarah: How do you decide which glass vessels to pair with the plants?

Kali: I measure the diameter of the glass globes to the size and number of the plants, in order to maintain a harmonious composition and create a miniature landscape.

Sarah: How much does pragmatism override aesthetic, or vice versa, when you’re conceiving the terrariums?

Kali: It’s impossible to avoid compromise, especially with living organisms. They require specific environments that must be met in terms of soil, drainage and climate. It’s unlike composing a bouquet, which is ephemeral.

Sarah: What inspires you — both within the plant world, and beyond?

Kali: I am inspired by microcosms within larger systems, and I like to focus on those little plants that survive in unexpected places. Watching them grow inspires me, and I like seeing how they change. Outside the plant world, I’m inspired by contemporary dance—I’ve always loved Pina Bausch’s choreography, for example. The repetitions and patterns are hypnotizing and enchanting. I also like textile design, for the same reasons, as well as for the tactility and textures.
Sarah: Is there anyone working with plants or terrariums whose work you admire?


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Kali: I admire the stunning suspended plant-artworks created by Fedor van der Valk.
 
Sarah: What’s your favorite green space?

Kali: I like the Old World charm of some gardens like this desuette [antiquated] botanical garden in a 18th-century baroque town I’ve recently been to in Apuglia, where young wild plants were growing beside exotic plants that have been there for many years. Every plant found its place and together comprised a natural unity. I also like places that used to be well-kept gardens but where nature ends up taking over, so there’s a variation between the wild plants and the ones that were intentionally brought there. The Jardin Naturel in the 20th arrondissement in Paris, close to the Père Lachaise Cemetery, is a tiny garden left to its own devices, where new and old plants cohabitate.

Sarah: Your terrariums are called Grow Little—do you have any interest of doing what you do on a bigger scale, like landscaping or even gardening?

Kali: Absolutely. I think the Grow Little terrarium aesthetic can be transposed to a larger scale. Thanks to the success of my terrariums, I’ve been moving in a new direction greening terraces and balconies, and I have recently been asked by the French magazine Elle Decoration to create an ornamental vegetable garden for an upcoming issue. These are confined spaces, much like terrariums, but the advantage is you can walk through them and contemplate them from the inside.

Sarah: You’re also a photographer; how does it compare to think about 3-D terrarium space versus 2-D photographic space?

Kali: When I started making compositions in terrariums, I strangely noticed that photography had a very important component of 3-D in it, because of the depth of field and the composition. Much like when I place plants in a terrarium, I try to place my subject within a frame, manipulating what I want the viewer to see. In my bubble-shaped terrarium, I have to cultivate this instinctive approach from all sides. My experience as a photographer helps me to observe my plant compositions with an exterior eye.

Grow Little specializes in custom orders and creative collaborations. Please send inquiries directly to Kali Vermès at growlittle@gmail.com.

http://dossierjournal.com/style/sales-shopping/in-conversation-with-grow-little/


Merci Marie Claire Maison (oct. 2015, p.72) !



 A client has kindly sent me pictures of the terrarium I made for him once it was in his home. It has found it's place !

Thank you Olivia Renaudin and Maison Française Magazine for including me in an article about terraria !
I should thank her husband too for buying one of my terrariums at Elodie Rambaud's "Moodboard" Pop Up, which inpired her to write this article :


Merci Elodie Rambaud , " la gourou du lifetyle déco", de m'avoir inclu dans ta liste sur Do It In Paris!


Many thanks for the blog post from trend setter Lisa White which describes my work in Paris : http://www.maplantemonbonheur.fr/les-jardins-de-kali


Merci à l'équipe de Silence ça Pousse de m'avoir inclus dans leur emmission du 04/03/2015 ! (présentation de mes terrariums à partir de 11:45 min)

Many thanks to Silence ça Pousse to have included me in their last TV programme 04/03/2015 !
(I am presenting my terrarium work 11:45 min into the video)



Thank you to Anne-Cécile Sanchez for including me in her article "Tête de Liste" in the issue of Marie-Claire Maison (Feb-Mar 2015) !

Un grand merci à Anne-Cécile Sanchez de m'avoir inclus dans son article "Tête de Liste" dans le Marie-Claire Maison (Fév-Mar 2015) !




Grow Little terrariums and WREATHS are for sale at the concept store Moodboard 14 rue du Chateau d'eau 75010 until december 23rd ! Thank you to Elodie Rambaud for graciously bringing us all together under her roof. (photo credit: Anne Ditmeyer)

     Merci à Chung Leng Tran pour cette belle photo !
Merci à Laurence et Fabrice de l'Instant Parisien pour cette belle rencontre !
Check out
l'Instant Parisiens' post on my work here: www.linstantparisien.com/growlittle/

and the English version HERE
 Check out Géraldine Mahé blog Bud-up. She mentions my larger scale creations in her post on l'Hôtel Amour

 Here's a little interview on the Kate Spade blog !


POP UP SHOP for 5 days only !  6 rue Elzévir 75003 
Hosted by The Vitrine an online shop with beautifully hand crafted objects, jewelry and more !
One of my favorite ceramists, Cécile Daladier, who makes delicate and poetic vases will also be on display. Opening Friday 25th April 2014 / 5-8pm




Grow Little terrariums are currently on view at the infamous Télescope café!
Thank you Nicolas. (The photo in the back is a shot I took inside the Observatory of Paris)

Grow Little featured in the latest March issue of Milk !


Grow Little was presented on French Television this morning on the show Le Grand Huit (at about 19:10 mins into the video). Three years later and the French are finally picking up on the trend ! Better late than never. Take a look HERE !







Good news in the press ! and more good news to come on a larger scale as I have been busy greening terraces around Paris.

Grazia June 2013

Many Thanks to Olivier Dupon for his article in the Nov 2012 issue of Home Beautiful (Australia)

Grow Little will be exhibiting a series of terraria in Bruxelles during the festival Design September.
The opening is this Friday September 7th at the multi-disciplinary space Impasse Temps/Tijd Gang.
More news to come on a larger scale !

Grow Little terrarium in a client's home

 A Grow Little terrarium now on view in the window of Bob's Kitchen

You can find my terrariums in the new issue of Exterieurs Design magazine


Grow Little terrarium on the upper right hand corner of this page



Getting ready for the shooting of Franck Prost's TV series
"Plantez le Décors" on  France 3 "Coté Jardin".

The film crew came to my atelier and to my client's beautiful home
to film my terrariums and how they are made. Watch the video HERE