Wicked Plants: Working With the Artist


 I think Wicked Plants just went off to the printer, and in about six weeks I should have a copy.  That'll be cool, but what's even cooler is the spin-off project that has come out of this:  the artist, Briony Morrow-Cribbs, who created original copper etchings of 40 wicked plants for the book,is doing a limited edition set of the etchings to sell to art collectors. 

Check out the set here.  It includes an introduction I wrote and one by Briony, eachBriony2
set in letterpress type, and the set is numbered and signed and comes in a fancy box, etc. etc. 

It wasn't until this project was nearly over that I really stopped to think about how unusual it is to have a book illustrated with original copper etchings.  It's a very old technique that was used to illustrate botanical books in centuries past, but who does that anymore?

Well, Briony does, and as you can see from these pictures, she's young and energetic and really talented.  We were lucky to get her. 

If the complete set is out of your price range–they start at $2500–she's also selling individual prints through her website, and we're working on printing a set of Wicked Plant notecards.  (Coming soon: Wicked Plant action figures!)

But seriously, the idea behind all of this is to give her work some broader exposure. Her prints will be on display at Brooklyn Botanic Garden starting May 30 and continuing through the summer — more on that later — and we're going to have an exhibit of it in our bookstore in May.  
Briony will also teach a class on drypoint etching at BBG this summer.  I'll post details on that soon, too.
And as long as I'm bragging about Briony, please check out her annual suite of botanical prints. I'm not sure if there are any left from 2008, but they are very dramatic and richly detailed.  Click to enlarge.


  1. OK, the prints are out of my range but please count me in for notecards for sure! Congrats on finishing the book, it will definitely be on my must-have list. I love weird plants and your collaboration seems golden.

  2. What Karen said! I love the illustrations shown, and would love to have notecards — actually, I would love the prints too, but …..

  3. I will be looking forward to this book, and in the meantime, plan to follow some of your links and at least order some notecards. Briony’s work looks lovely. Good of you to feature her here.

  4. What an extremely talented young woman !
    Amy, you were both so fortunate to work with one another.
    Your work compliments each other beautifully.

    Looking forward to the note cards, as the beautiful original etchings are not in my budget this year.

    Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

    Congrats on the beautifully illustrated book.

  5. This puts your book in a whole new category of must own publications where the presence of art clinches the buy! My husband does woodcuts and has also done some copperplate etchings, so I can really appreciate the commitment to art that this book represents for you, Briony and the publisher. Must say I am also really taken with the names: Heavenly Monkey Books and Cat Skinner Press! (Also don’t think I had seen a picture of your bookstore before, what an absolute treasure; wish I was close enough to drive over today!)

  6. Her beautiful work and your making us aware of it is a stroke of genius, adding another entire layer of meaning and texture to the birth of your book. Nicely done . . . and thank you.

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