Photos by Collin Richie

The Creatives: Amy Spencer

Amy Spencer

Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Age: 43
Artistry: Pressed botanicals, abstract nature collage
Online:, @amyspencerbotanicals on Instagram

Piled chest-high on a round table, layers of tropical banana leaves, monsteras and palms are tangled with slender ferns and the large brown teardrops of a clutch of oak leaves. The whole mélange looks like bonfire kindling just waiting for a creative spark in the heart of Amy Spencer’s studio, a recent addition to the backyard of the Baton Rouge home she shares with her husband Ryan and their five boys. 

Overlooking this bank of Spencer’s raw, earthy material is row after row of refined abstract collages on the wall, slices and shards of leaves, foraged finds and wild weeds set in a sea of white matte and the sheen of gold picture frames.

As a botanical artist, Spencer notices broken things, seeks out the forgotten, and brings them together in a beautiful visual symphony—first in her imagination, then in her frames.

“More and more, these abstract pieces are my heart,” says the artist who began shifting from interior decorating and room design to pressed botanical art after creating her first piece for a client’s home a few years ago. “I think the message of these is that we can all transcend what’s expected in order to make something different.”

Inspired equally by her young children discovering nature and the work of famous botanical artist Stuart Thornton, Spencer is self-taught, just as she taught herself to paint as a child.

“It’s a vulnerable place and scary, kind of, but so exciting,” she says of her creative process.

Last year, Spencer began appearing at local arts markets and selling her pressed pieces online. She wants to grow the business side of her creativity in 2023 and experiment with using Asian rice-paper plants.

“I’d always had a creative side that wasn’t really explored as a career because of my conservative upbringing,” Spencer says. “At some point, having young children—and we had just adopted our fifth—I thought, ‘What would it look like for me to say yes to this side of myself and make something every day without the pressure of it having to be perfect?’”

While her work is available at Red Onion and McMillin Interiors in Baton Rouge, her muse is everywhere: on family vacations back home to Oregon, in the yards of local estate sales she peruses (yes, she asks permission before taking clippings), and alongside her own home.

“So much of art is seeing—
seeing beauty all around you,” Spencer says. “You can look at anything the right way and find the beauty in it.”