Interview: Robi Moore

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Loof Terrariums is a unique shop selling plants and small terrariums. I was lucky enough to interview Robi about her shop and work. 

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Yeah, good thanks. There suddenly been lots of changes over the past month. I’ve just begun work with Wild Leaf, which is super exciting. There are lots of fun and interesting projects lined up in the next couple of months.

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?

I’m completely self-taught. What started as a hobby to help cope with my mental health has turned into this passion and career. It’s taken me a couple of years of studying in my spare time to get to where I am today and there’s still so much to learn! After seeing some small terrariums in Amsterdam and wanting one for my flat, I began researching into how to build the layering structures, the plants that are be suited and the rest has been trial and error.

The great thing about my work now is that I’m constantly learning and broaden my skills. I’d love to do a few courses to really get my knowledge up to scratch and better understand the plants, but I need to focus on one thing at a time. 

Have you always been into plants and terrariums?

I’ve always had a connection with being outside and my parents would always have a beautiful garden when we were growing up. I remember as a kid going to garden centres with my family and being amazed by all the different plants. I loved helping my parents pick out plants for the garden. I don’t partially remember there being many plants in the house but once I got a bit older I did persuade my parents to get a cactus. It lasted quite a few years but unfortunately I wasn’t a good plant mum and ended up semi killing it. After that I didn’t really have any plants until I went to university and now I’ve gone absolutely crazy!

My interest in terrariums started in 2016 after seeing them in Amsterdam. When we got back I was trying to find one for the flat but couldn’t find anything. My partner suggested that I built one up myself. I started off small, buying small glasses from IKEA and some small succulents. From there it really ignited something inside me to explore larger vessels and different plants. I’m really happy with the terrariums I’m producing at this present time. It’s taken two years of experiments to get them to this standard. I’d soon like to start exploring aquatic terrariums.  

If there were no resource restraints, what would be your dream project?

I already have some idea of what I would like to create, once I have the knowledge, time and resources. My real aim is to fully bring the outside in but with be constrained into a vessel. From what I already envision, I’d like to suspend pieces of wood that has moss, ferns and other plants growing off it. It’d be a piece of living art that you would be able to watch change and grow over the course of it being installed. Since the plants wouldn’t be inside anything I’d have to think about how to create the ecosystem for them with humidifiers.  

What equipment do you use for your work?

I get to use a wide variety of equipment from miniature tools to a film camera, which belonged to my grandfather. But on a day-to-day basis, I guess my hands and my phone are the main ones. My phone just makes everything so accessible. I use it to access my emails on the go, constantly take photographs and be connected with my followers instantly. My hands go through a lot. I tend not to wear gloves when I’m building the terrariums, which means they get dirty and dry a lot of the time and of course, I get pricked by cacti spines! I do have specialist equipment for the terrariums which I use as well but the fun of it is getting stuck in there!

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Oh this one is tough. There’s a lot of possessions that I would love to be able to live without. I’m researching in to the Danish way of living, hygge (hoo-gah) and not to live with so many material possessions. I don’t think I’ll be able to give up my film cameras. I love experimenting and the process you have to go through to get the final images. 

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Social media is a great way to interact and communicate with your followers straight away. I use it on a daily basis. I have one account to keep my followers up to date daily with what I’m doing (@loofterrariums) be that building up orders, being at the shop or hanging out with the dog I sometimes look after. I also have another account (@loofphotography), which I update less frequently but it’s a real focus on my photography work. This year I’d like to explore my out creative passions, watercolours & photography. I’m trying to build up a bit of a photography portfolio and decided to change my personal account since it was pretty full of my photography instead. I like to keep my profiles as honest as possible. I try my hardest to produce all the content myself; sometimes I’ve used stock imagery only when necessary.  

Who inspires your work?

It’d have to be Mother Nature!

Do you have any favourite pieces of work that you adore at the moment?

I’ve been working on this epiphyte terrarium for an upcoming event. I’ve been carefully monitoring it over the past few weeks and it seems to be establishing nicely. I’d love to work on more terrariums like this.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and your work?

Now that I’ve began working with Wild Leaf I expect that I’ll be updating when I’m in the shop, cool plants we’ve just got in and projects we’ll be working on. I’m going to spend this year focusing on my creative side and try to produce as much work as possible. 

What are you currently working on?

Currently working on a terrarium project with Wild Leaf for an event being held in Harvey Nicks. We’ll be building up loads of tropical terrariums as well as producing some kokedama for table displays. 

What’s your typical working day?

I don’t have one at the moment. I just take every day as it comes. I try to plan every day with three tasks to complete but recently my mental health hasn’t been it’s best which means some of the habits I created have completely gone. But I’m hoping with working in the shop it’ll give me a little more structure. 

What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

Having the confidence in myself to be able to do it. It’s extremely hard to keep yourself going sometimes, especially when your mental health is telling you something different or you receive some bad feedback. I can be hard to pick yourself up again. Luckily I have such a great support network around me. My partner has supported me so much that really there wouldn’t have been LOOF without him. I wanted the business to grow organically and steadily. I’m not the type of person to really put myself out there as it is, and having to do that with my business makes me extremely uncomfortable. But you’ve got to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to help you and your business grow.

Do you have any exciting plans for this year?

To be honest I’m just going to take this year as it comes. There’s been massive changes already and I think for me I just have to ride the wave and see where it takes me. I’m super excited to have this opportunity to be working with Wild Leaf and I’d like to see how the next couple of months pan out before I start any other projects.

Do you have any advice for anyone doing craft fairs?

It can sometimes get disheartening if you end up going to a market and you barely make any money to cover the costs of that day. But take it as a learning curve, maybe that market wasn’t your demographic or something else. You’ll learn what markets are right for you and your business and it’s okay to turn down markets that you feel wont benefit the business. You need to do what’s right for the business. 

What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?

Be yourself. Find out who you are, what you like and take influence from what is around you. There’s a difference from being influence and just copying someone’s style. You’ll find yourself being naturally drawn to certain styles, take that inspiration and create something unique from it.  

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to do terrariums?

Do it. Find out about how to do it, the plants that thrive in them and experiment. Not every terrarium you will build will survive but that part of the learning experience. Think about why they might not have worked and try again.

What’s next?

I hope to take part in some more plant installations for events and get enough work together to be able to hold my own exhibition.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

Find a passion that makes you feel like a child again. 

I think this is why I love being around plants so much, it brings back this nostalgic feel and brings me such overwhelming joy. Find something that gives you that feeling. 

We have fallen in love with Loof Terrariums. Head to their website to see what gorgeous items have they in stock 'www.loofterrariums.com'. You can follow Loof Terrariums on their Instagram accounts 'www.instagram.com/loofterrariums' and 'www.instagram.com/loofphotography'.