Last weekend we held our fourth Local is Lovely Pracshop; Creative Storytelling through Photography, Art, Words and Food. And as with every post-workshop post, I must make an effort to reign-in my superlatives because I am full of them. I want to rave about the enthusiastic, fascinating, fun students we had, the generosity and skill of our teachers, the evening yoga by the fire and just how nice it was to spend two days sharing ideas and creativity with a bunch of awesome people.
When first planning this workshop I couldn’t get the idea of Hygge out of my mind – that Scandinavian concept of general ‘wellbeing’, a feeling of cosy-ness, warmth, togetherness and community. My Mum (and more on her soon) comes from Denmark and through her and our time with family there, the concept of Hygge has come to epitomise my perfect cup of tea. It’s about sitting by the fire in winter discussing big and small things in life, sharing simple but good food around big tables and using the winter hibernation to write, cook, sew, knit, draw or just spend time with friends.
And while ‘Winter Hygge Pracshop’ didn’t make the cut as this one’s official name, to me that’s exactly what it was. So here are some images and more words from the weekend that was (I’m saving a few for separate blog posts) and I hope they convey just how much ‘hygge’ was present in everyone and everything that weekend! The venue for this workshop was Kimbri, Mum and Dad’s beautiful farm, home and studio. Which is also the venue for Mum’s wonderful residential 5-day art classes.
We kicked things off with introductions then a half-day session on storytelling through art with artist Annie Herron. Annie, who’s also my Mum, took us through the basics of perspective and composition and then we chatted about some of the images we’d pinned on the studio wall, while Mum explained through an artists’s perspective which images worked and which didn’t. Photographer and fellow teacher Luisa Lovely Brimble summed it all up best when she wrote on her Instagram page;
I learnt so much just listening to Annie analyse which of the images worked and didn’t worked and why. Learning to look at images in shapes, and injecting some of the ‘elements of design’ in our photographs. What really stayed with me is this… “If something is perfect you can’t get involved with it.” – in reference to photographs where nothing is left for our minds to wander.
Then we all put this new take on perspective/shapes/collages and the importance of negative space to work with an exercise in collaging that really got us all putting theory into practice and a little water colour to take us through to lunch.
But of course not all of this happened without sustenance. Morning tea brought with it a gluten-free lemon cake (I used this recipe but just dropped the flour and upped the almond meal to make up the lost weight) and a nice big apple and molasses cake (recipe below).
Apple molasses cake
This recipe is only slightly adapted from one by the wonderful food writer Anna Jones. I discovered Anna’s book via Luisa at one of our first workshops when she brought it along as an example of excellent food photography and styling and have since adopted it as a new favourite. This cake is fragrant, easy and delicious – perfection.
250g spelt (or wholemeal or plain) flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of allspice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
4 tbsp molasses
125g brown sugar
2 large eggs
150mls olive oil
2 large granny smith or other cooking apples
2 tap fresh ginger, finely grated
for the icing
125g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
a handful of toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a cake tin. Sift flower, spices, baking powder and bicarb soda together. Then, in another bowl, whisk together the molasses, sugar, eggs and olive oil until well combined. Grate in the apples and ginger and mix well. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together then spoon mixture into cake tin. Bake for 45 mins or until skewer comes out clean. Let cool on a rack.
After lunch we were joined by Country Style magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Victoria Carey for a session on writing and weaving words and images together to create evocative stories. Victoria has so much knowledge and experience to share and did so with great generosity.
It was such a great day. So many good ideas and people to share them with. And we finished up with a candle-lit yoga session, still in the wool-shed led by the gorgeous Wendy Bowman who came to our very first workshop last November and with her husband also runs a farm and small business Moppity Meats. We love you Wendy!
So that’s what we did on day one of our workshop. Day two started with a breakfast picnic and I’ll be back with pics and recipes tomorrow!
In the meantime, check out this gorgeous blog post about our workshop from one of our gorgeous students Erin.