I found this thick, square glass bowl at a local thrift shop. When I first saw it, I immediately thought it would make a nice wabi kusa bowl. After I purchased the bowl, it sat for some time until I found the right "something" to go in the bowl. This is typically how it works - I find a piece that speaks to me and then it sits until it's paired with the other "speak to me" objects.
Using a cool lava rock found in the desert, I painted the rock with Zoo Med Eco Earth® Coconut Fiber Substrate; this substrate is excellent for retaining moisture and holding its shape. I covered the substrate with various species of moss, which grows very well in the coconut fiber. In the base of the bowl, I added a layer of sand to keep the bowl off the glass and to allow the the rooting of the aquatic plants used.
Up top on the moss layer, I planted a variety of plant cuttings [plants used listed at end of post]. These cuttings have rooted well in the moss and coconut fiber; the coconut fibers draw moisture from the water in the base of the bowl, feeding the roots of the cuttings. In addition, many cuttings have sent roots into the water and sand below.
To assist in the success of this micro ecosystem, I added freshwater plankton consisting of daphnia, cyclops and other micro organisms in addition to detritus worms, which are now cultivated for my pea puffers and other fish. Pond and ram's horn snails were also added to aid in the cleanup of decaying organic matter. The snails have begun multiplying and are also used to feed the pea puffers and various loach fishes.
Being that this is a living piece of art, it is not free of care and maintenance; however, the minimal care and maintenance it does require, is quite enjoyable and relaxing. The plant cuttings require regular pruning to encourage branching and compact growth. The pruned plant pieces are not gone to waste; some are recycled back into the mix for a thicker appearance, while the others are kept until used in other projects.
Water evaporates and is used by the moss and plants above, so regular water top-offs are required. I periodically add fish food to the water in the base for the snails and worms; this eventually turns into plant food.
Want to see more? Be sure to follow the #squarewabikusainspiredbowl hashtag on Instagram. You can also find me on my YouTube channel, Peace of Nature.