Petit Beast: Hanging air plant sculptures look like graceful jellyfish

Cathy Van Hoang
© Cathy Van Hoang

Air plants (Tillandsia) are among the most forgiving plants to grow, even for people who have a habit of neglecting their gardening duties. For Long Beach, California-based photographer, art director and designer Cathy van Hoang, air plants were a way to cure what she calls her "black thumb," and she's since parlayed her love of these low-maintenance plants into creating unique air plant sculptures with sea urchin shells, which resemble colourful jellyfish.

© Cathy Van Hoang
© Cathy Van Hoang

Van Hoang calls her whimsical creations "petit beasts," which is also the name of her Etsy shop. Her growing love for these quirky plants quickly became an obsession bordering on hoarding, and at her boyfriend's prompting, Van Hoang began selling them online. But she explains on Dearest Nature how her original Jellyfish Air Plants™ idea suddenly came about:

The idea of turning air plants into jellyfish was an accidental one. I had the right ingredients to make them from the start. Sales really started to pick up and I was running out of space, so I started to hang them from the ceiling and voila. All of the positive responses I’ve been getting from people makes me very happy. I’m really glad that people are able to relate to them.

© Cathy Van Hoang
© Cathy Van Hoang
© Cathy Van Hoang

With their shells painted various hues of teals, magentas, and even gold, Van Hoang likens these creations to "pets" that she "adopts, care for, raise, and then sends out into the world." There's a lovely ombre effect that most of the jellyfish air plants have, which Van Hoang's polished photography and graphic design skills emphasize well.

© Cathy Van Hoang
© Cathy Van Hoang

We've seen a number of designs for growing plants and food at home, but this is among the most creative, low-tech approaches we've encountered that use materials sourced right from nature, allowing people to enjoy greenery without the need for unnecessary gizmos. Hung upside down and exuding a beautiful mystery, Van Hoang's otherworldly organisms are an imaginative take on the fascinating world of air plants -- each are one-of-a-kind and are actually quite affordable. More over at Cathy van Hoang's website and Etsy store Petit Beast.

Tags: Accessories | California | Etsy | Gardening

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