These old friends have captured the whimsical nature of terrariums and turned it into a booming business. Check out Twig Terrarium’s Krrb corner because you’ll want to enclose your world in one of their creations. And, if you act quick, you can pick up a cute terrarium on Fab, the design lover’s flash sale site. Read on for inspiration and to find out how these ladies found their calling.
Tell us about yourselves. Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Us Twig chicks are Brooklyn natives, born and bred. Michelle lives in a quiet corner of Marine Park and Katy lives in a not-so-quiet corner of Midwood. We travel together each day to our studio in Gowanus, where we have been utterly charmed by our neighbors, fellow artisans, and local haunts.
I know you recently opened your Twig Terrarium studio in Gowanus. Any great finds in your new neighborhood?
Gowanus is the bee’s knees! We’re on the corner of 3rd Ave and President, so right up the block is Film Biz Props, a positively jaw dropping space filled to the brim with props, furniture, disco balls, refurbished and repurposed pieces, as well as “1980’s in a box” and lots of random goodies. Down the street a new cycle shop, 718 Cyclery, recently opened up which our cycle-centric Twiggy assistant has been to a million times already. And then there’s the brilliant Proteus Gowanus who came to Twig for some glass pieces to house some odd objects for an exhibit. And with neighbors with names like Ben Wonderful of Gowanus Your Face Off you really can’t go wrong! We love this new ‘hood of ours and when the weather is right, that stroll across the canal can be quite lovely.
List the top 5 places you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
Sometimes our idea of local is a bit…big. It may be Pennsylvania where there’s choice antiquing in Adamstown, or New Jersey where you’ll find some real treats in Englishtown. When we want to spend a few bucks in the County of Kings, we hit up our favorite store, Cog & Pearl on 5th Avenue and Scaredy Kat just down the street. Film Biz Props and Build it Green in Gowanus both are loads of fun, with a quick dip into Find Furnishing which makes us drool. Then there’s our favorite nurseries, but don’t get us started on that!
As friends, how far back do you two go?
Awww, we go way back. Picture us…Michelle was 15 and Katy was 12. We were little hooligans traversing all over Brooklyn—going to L’Amour’s for some metal, hangin’ in Bensonhurst being bad, playing hooky in Marine Park. Katy moved away, so there was about ten years before the big reconnect. Fast forward to Michelle’s 31st birthday party when a mutual friend offered Katy as the big surprise. Since then we’ve been inseparable. It started with redoing Michelle’s home office. Then it was craft night where we made cards and bookmarks. Then it was, “Hey Katy, I want to make a terrarium”—and so it began!
As kids, did either of you have a green thumb?
In early elementary school, Michelle planted a potato for class and brought it home to watch it grow. And grow it did! It grew tall and happy, so she re-potted it. It grew taller and happier, so she re-potted it again. It grew so tall that it began to scare poor Michelle and her parents had to move it far from her sight. And so began a lifelong appreciation for plants and our interaction with them. Since then little Michelle has always had a love of botany and currently tends to a maritally unappreciated jungle in her kitchen. Katy, on the other hand, never had much of a green thumb. But moss and terrariums brought her closer to plants, and now she has a thriving jungle of her own at home. Both us Twig chicks have a vast collection of terraria—well contained gardens that Michelle’s hubbie can’t possibly object to.
How often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
We try so hard to make time for antiquing, as that was our first love. Last summer we did a two week road trip where we antiqued the hell outta every state from New York to Virginia to Tennessee. We’re thinking of making it a yearly ritual. We LOVE flea markets, and the best there is in New York City is the Brooklyn Flea. It’s where we got our big start, and we will always have lots of love for these guys who pull it all together with some of the best vendors around. There are lots of tips to buying at fleas and fairs, but it seems the one we feel strongest about is…if you love it, just grab it. Michelle still mourns the little gossip bench/telephone table that we couldn’t fit in the car back in Englishtown. Sorry, Mich! We shoulda brought bungee cords!
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
Haha! We like to joke that we’re glass hoarders. Our miniature environments speak to minimalism as we try to create expansive space even in the tiniest glass vessel. Minimalism does the same—and you know every minimalist apartment has a ginormous closet to hide one’s sentimental belongings. C’mon now. Overall, we try to keep things simple and fresh. Our studio may have a messy workstation, but our space in general is light, bright, and crisp in Twig’s happy green’n’white combo. So maybe we’re minimalists at heart, eh?
Tell us the story behind your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object in your possession.
That’s a tough one. Both of us have collections in our homes that speak to our personal obsessions, but as for Twig’s cherished item it would have to be an enormous glass piece that we found in a Virginia antique store. It was so large, and our car was so full, that Michelle had to cradle it in her lap for over 400 miles back to Brooklyn. She lovingly stroked its curves and whispered sweet nothings in its non-existent ear. It’s a gorgeous piece of glass, though, and worth the cramped ride!
What are you creating these days?
We do a LOT of custom work for folks who want to see themselves and their family within a little green world. We create figures to match people based on photos, and not just people—your favorite pup or kitty, that golden-maned horse from your childhood, or the time you were skydiving and your hubbie’s parachute got caught in a tree. Right now we’re working on some serious pieces for an upcoming collaboration with the New York Botanic Gardens…word! And we’ll be selling and exhibiting at the Philly International Flower Show this March! Holy moly, did we mention our book comes out this April? Woot! We’ve been so lucky and so enchanted by the response to terrariums that every project we work on brings a new sense of awe and inspiration. Every customer’s quirky idea has us falling in love with terrariums all over again.
The Short List
Gowanus Your Face Off
Film Biz Recycling, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY
718 Cyclery, 254 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Proteus Gowanus, 543 Union Street (at Nevins), Brooklyn, NY
Cog and Pearl, 190 Fifth Ave.,
Scaredy Kat Store, 232 5th Ave., (between Carroll & President Streets), Brooklyn, NY
Build it Green! NYC, 69 9th St. Brooklyn, NY
Find the Twig Chicks
Check out their flash sales