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A Curious Herbal: Workshop, Exhibition and Zine

In the summer of 2022 we created this beautiful project. View impressions from the final exhibition and zine in the video below. Read on for details about the workshop itself.

Workshop Description

Learn botanical watercolor techniques and discover the medicinal plants that grow within our urban ecosystem. Many of the plants that we consider “weeds” have historically been used as medicinal plants (Heilpflanzen). The genre of botanical illustration arose out of a need to document and identify plants for medicinal and ritual purposes. Join us as we learn about plants, collect specimens and draw and paint from close observation. 

Plant Portraits: Exhibition and Guidebook 

The plant portraits created during the workshops will be compiled into a guidebook Zine. A one-day exhibition will take place at the Prinzessinnengarten, so that we can share our creations with garden visitors, friends and family. 

The title of the project, A Curious Herbal, is borrowed from the 1739 publication by Elizabeth Blackwell, which was the first herbal (a publication of medicinal botanical illustrations) to include medicinal plants brought to Europe from the Americas. While Blackwell was likely referring to the strangeness of these recent arrivals, we will use the word “curious” to refer to ourselves. Our Herbal will be the product of an attitude of curiosity taken towards our immediate surroundings. A curiosity that leads to an appreciation of the biodiversity and cultural richness found within our urban ecosystem.


We invite participants from all walks of life and all experience levels. It is important that you can commit to attending all 4 classes within one workshop module, in order to contribute to the group project. Youths age 14 and above can attend on their own, while those younger than 14 are welcome to attend with an adult. A sign language interpreter can be provided. 

If you would like to join one of the modules, see dates below, please scroll down and complete the contact form. Confirmation of your participation will be sent in a timely manner. Please understand that space is limited and nobody is entitled to the right of participation. In order to have the best chance of securing your place in the workshop, register as early as possible. When the a module becomes fully booked, we will say so here and open a waiting list. 

A Curious Herbal Workshop Details

Artist-Instructor: Mira O’Brien

Plant-Expert: Matthias Wilkins

Cost: FREE, registration required. 

Registration Deadline: Monday, July 18

LocationPrinzessinnengarten auf dem Neuen St. Jacobi Friedhof
Hermannstraße 99-105, 12051 Berlin
S+U Hermannstraße

Module 1: 

waiting list only

August 1-4 (Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs) 

Instruction: 10am-12pm, Optional Work Time: 12-1pm

Module 2: 

waiting list only

August 8-11 (Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs)

Instruction: 10am-12pm, Optional Work Time: 12-1pm

Exhibition: August 19, 6-8pm

Some impressions from the workshop at Prinzessinnengarten

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