Slavonk & Hortus Terraria specialize in terrariums. Our enclosed botanical designs and succulents are naturally more sustainable by requiring less water and exceeding life after events. Making for an eco-alternative to floral design.
Slavonk & Hortus BEGAN five years ago, in 2010. Owner, Keri Anderson, worked as a barista at a coffee shop and the owner opened a space where Keri promoted her work. After the idea caught on, Keri worked from home and started supplying terrariums to Whole Foods Market. In 2014 she opened her studio and production room at 11525 Manchaca Rd. Since then, the studio has hosted classes, set up the "Terrarium Bar" and provides customers with both a selection in-studio and an online choice of terrariums for local Austin delivery.
Shoestring: When did you start making terrariums?
Keri: Five years ago, I was working as a barista at a coffee shop and the owner allowed me to showcase my work to sell. I’d get off work, go home and make more terrariums!
Why do you love them so much?
I love them because they’re self-sufficient, water-conserving and anyone can make one, out of any recycled or loved container. I love the enclosed designs more, because the plants create their own atmosphere and watching them grow is rewarding. I love watching a fern unfurl in glass displaying an imagery of slow progress.
When/why did you start Slavonk + Hortus?
I started in 2010, building from home after reading a circa 1973 terrarium DIY. I liked the idea of watching ferns and ivies unfurl under glass. I’m busy, but I like to have green around me, especially in times when I don’t live in an area so green…terrariums provide a green glow in the space, which evokes creativity, while not having to water as often. I wanted to provide designs that work with plants, not just cutting them and admiring them in a vase for a week. Mainly, I enjoy building them and I’d like to inspire those who appreciate it as much as I do.
What does the name mean // how did you come up with it?
Slavonk is a design name. I appreciate Eastern European design and pieces of their culture inspire me. Hortus Conclusus is a Latin term, meaning literally “enclosed garden.”
What’s the first project you remember making/crafting?
About five years ago, when I first got started making terrariums, I found this glass piece that was massive. It took the shape of a light-bulb but more like an egg. I filled it with the most rare tropicals I could find, including vines and a branch for them to coil around. It was my most prized piece. It sat at the coffee shop only for a week. A regular of mine had seen nothing like it and was stargazed into purchasing it for close to $300. This was my life-changing moment. I knew I had to live out this hobby and it was too special a kind of work to me to pass up.
Most successful project? Biggest fail?
I tried to fix my front-loader washing machine. I ordered parts, watched a few videos on YouTube and went for it. That was a big fail.
What do you DIY the most?
I’m a very hands-on kind of human. I try to do everything myself first. I will bypass any rule of physics just to give myself a chance to learn to do what I do not know how.
Favorite/least favorite tools/materials?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Go rest. Or as Bill Murray put it, “The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything.”
What’s your top tip for first-timers?
Read about terrariums to get a good understanding of them, before making one. The New Terrarium is good starter book. Care is essential to the life of your terrarium, careful not to over-water, over-love. For enclosed terrariums watch for condensation: 10-25% droplets covering the glass. Succulent and cacti designs like to live off their reserves. Better to water too little than too much. The presence of light or lack thereof is equally important to consider with each design. There are loads more care tips on our care page on Slavonk + Hortus.
Anything you DIY now that you never thought you would?
I’ve always wanted to make raw desserts. Much more simple than baking a cake and clean up is even better. Just toss a few nuts and sweetener in a blender for a cheesecake, freeze and enjoy! I like keeping raw food books on reference. Any un-cook book by Ani Phyo is good — Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats is my favorite.
What won’t you ever DIY/when do you call in the experts?
Next time, I’ll call the appliance company to fix my washer.
“When I’m not making stuff, I’m…”
Participating in the two extremes that keep me happy: Networking, going out, meeting other entrepreneurs (ladies, that’s us), finding the next art project for me and my three year old. On the other end of the spectrum from buzzing around, I enjoy relaxing at home or in the greens of the greenbelt, in the water, being quiet and readjusting with nature.
How has your mindset / your projects changed over the years?
I’ve learned to trust myself. I used to overthink design. All things are made better with good flow. If you doubt yourself, the flow is interrupted and your attempts are stagnated with more problems. I’ve learned to visually imagine what I want the project to look like, then visualize me doing the project. After that, it’s all execution and fun!
What’s next for Slavonk + Hortus?
We’re constantly working on providing the best modalities of bringing more green into people’s lives. We have a lot of great stuff going on this summer! We have plans to expand our existing terrarium bar to an entire room, and we offer wine parties and team-building classes, both in the shop and off-site, as well as services to install living-walls with air-purifying tropicals (along with upkeep) for homes and commercial spaces. We’re working with Sturdy MFG Co to create a DIY Terrarium Kit by end-of-summer and hope to have it available for purchase by the holidays. Annnd…we’re collaborating with Shara Funari ofEast Side Glass Studio to come up with these amazing terrarium pieces, and we’re also talking about a possible installation collaboration together at E.A.S.T.