Little Terrarium Wall Art – Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search 2014 (GTS)


What a great start to GTS! Terrariums are a great source of inspiration, with multiple opportunities to be creative. This is yet another time in space to just try and give your best.

As always I began very methodically by reading and re-reading the brief and resource materials before ploughing into my sketchbook. A lot of the material provided contained succulents and since I have always kept them since the age of 20, this was a good place to start. Paint and texture has also been prominent in my work, but so has the desire for true and bold colours and shape, so I knew I wanted to include these elements. In order to start somewhere in the running with thousands of other artists, vying for the top  50, I decided to warm up my painting skills by using a bright colour palette and a fairly traditional style. As much as I enjoyed the experience, it just felt wrong and wasn’t really me. I tried a few other ideas and then stuck to my guns and threw it all out and started again.


Sorry if you like this but my final piece is nothing like it!

Back to me. How shall I approach the brief?

  • Think outside the box and do something different.
  • Break the terrarium down into ideas and sections.
  • Make something unique.
  • Don’t just create wall art. Think how the design can be related to other markets – paper, apparel, home decor, gift etc.
  • Read how the work will be judged and make sure that all areas are covered in an inspired way.

With a fresh ‘Angela’ approach I broke down the theme and researched the different areas. Lilla often says not to spend too much time on research, but it is a major part of my routine and helps me take creative tangents. I dip in and out of research throughout the process. Google is such a blessing!

How did I come up with the idea for my wall art?

Research – Colour, terrarium shapes (organic and geodesic), plants.

Colour – I want to use bright colours (orange, yellow, bright pink, baby blue, light mauve, purple accented with white). These colours are currently trending and forecasted well into 2016.

Pinterest – Make a Pinterest board with all my source material and make it public as we approach the Gallery going live. This will help you and the judges to track my line of thought.

Ideas – I’m an ideas girl!

The terrarium layers – These reminded me of the flower fields of Amsterdam. Stripes of bold colour.

Bulbs – I love bulbs especially tulip bulbs which are a beautiful organic shape. People often grow bulbs in a wide vase – a form of terrarium.

I looked through a number of catalogues (including DWR) and noticed the Allium flowers… These have bulbs and great colour – purple and mauves and any other that I choose with my artistic license. I could use geodesic terrarium shapes to make the flowers. They have the bold shape  that I love with the added delicacy of tiny flowers. Very me.

Another icon – I need another icon that relates to the theme and ties it together but not something twee. Something with a great shape that relates to me and makes the scene work.


Since the age of 8 we had a pond at home. We would often watch the dragonflies dip into the water to lay their eggs. We’d catch the larva – usually by mistake as we tried to catch the newts. We’d observe the larvae climbing up the reeds and turning into dragonflies, wait as they dried their wings and finally fly off. They were bright and pristine! A beautiful, crisp design motif.


As I wondered about the word or lettering for my design it was not until I’d settled on the dragonfly connection that I came up with the phrase ‘Joie de vivre’ – the joy of living – carefree enjoyment of life. I went back to the geodesic purple allium flower and decided to have the dragonflies coming out of the now fragmented purple flower head as if hatching and enjoying their freedom. ’Joie de vivre’ fitted perfectly.  I’m also enjoying a very happy and carefree part of my life. I have the freedom to stay home, be there for my family and friends, create and follow my dream without the pressure of absolutely having to go out to work. Obviously it is still my aim to make art that will actually sell. We could definitely do with the extra cash!


I created a number of shapes using ink line drawings and traced them into Illustrator along with some brown paper to add to the collage element.

I made big blobs and stripes of watercolour in readiness for my idea to take shape. Terrarium shaped watercolour flower heads and a dark teal wash for the background which contrasts well with the bright colours.

blobs-and-stripes blobby purple-ballcolour-palette masking

Lettering – After a few attempts at different styles of hand lettering I felt that the piece needed something a little more chunky. I used the shapes from the bulbs to create a unique style. Over the top is a small dragonfly and terrarium repeat pattern. I often use this method to add a little more interest or texture to my work. I then used Illustrator to pull everything together in a collage fashion. The great thing with Illustrator is that you can rearrange everything and rescale sections as much as you like. It is such a versatile tool.

With my Wall Art almost complete  I had already begun to think how these shapes and colours could be used in other markets. I went to town on Photoshop and Illustrator making a whole heap of designs, but have really only scratched the surface of possibilities. I can easily see my designs in the shops on numerous surfaces – bedding, rugs, towels, cushions, fabric, summer outdoor furniture, beachwear, lighting, stationery and so the list goes on.  I even designed a new swimming costume that I would love especially if I lost a few kilos! I really feel that this is such a versatile design. To prove it to the judges I went mad mocking things up. I was going to add these to the GTS Facebook page, however, we are requested to wait until the Gallery is live before we share our final pieces, which I fully understand. I also entered the Spoonflower ‘Beetles’ competition with a very graphic boys room beetle design called, ‘Beetle Boy Blue’.  I always think of the end product!

If I am successful, I’ll receive an email on the 26th August with the next brief, letting me know I’m through to the next round. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!

I’ll put up my final piece of art work for you to see after the GTS Gallery goes live and don’t forget to keep an eye on the Lilla Rogers site for all the latest news.

As always thank you for looking and reading, but most of all, your ongoing support.

Angela x




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