Stories

Yvonne Coomber | An Artists Stay in Devon

A few weeks back a group of utterly charming and talented women gathered together at artists Yvonne Coomber’s invitation. A very generous ‘artist in residence’ stay, we gathered at Pip Farm in Totnes, Devon. The farm had been filled with Yvonne’s work, each wall adorned with her joyful, happy paintings. Each window sill, ledge, infact most flat surfaces where filled with vases of flowers. You couldn’t walk into a more happier space.

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Yvonne’s trademark paint splattered boots.

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Bex from @botanical_tales  led a miniature dried flower wreath making workshop. Which was so fun and bonding and thankfully Bex fixed mine as my wreath making skills are pretty shocking!

We had a wander through Totnes and visited Yvonne’s shop!

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Then incredibly, Yvonne, generously invited us (all!) into her home for afternoon tea, with free reign to explore and photograph her house and garden. I absolutely loved this part of our experience, Yvonne’s home is like her paintings, eclectic and full of joy! And so much cake and how much tea cosy envy do you have? (I’ve already asked where the tea cosy was from and it’s a one off wedding gift made by a friend. I’m a bit gutted too.)

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Yvonne’s studio, the last stop of our day in around Totnes was to see where Yvonne worked. Her studio is in a valley surrounded by fields and nature, exactly what you see in her paintings. She paints outside in the elements and the day’s weather affects the painting, wind, heat or even quiet stillness. It was very special to be invited into someone’s work space, see their tools, their half finished work and hear their story. Yvonne’s journey to becoming an artist wasn’t a straightforward path but it was inspiring and humbling to hear it in her own words.

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Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Below is a list of everyone involved in the retreat, Yvonne as well as all the guests and those who looked after us. Do have a look through you’ll find some beautiful people and accounts to follow.

Yvonne @yvonnecoomber

Julia @humphreyandgrace 

Janne @jannelford 

Bex @botanical_tales 

Miranda @mirandasnotebook

Lulu @acupfullofdreams 

Tamsyn @tamsynmorgans 

DÖrte @lewesmap

Elizabeth  @blowyinthewind 

Catherine  @catherine_frawley 

Katie @ceramicmagpie 

Georgie  @georgiestclair 

Kyla @kylamagrathinteriors   

Jeannett  @pippiandmeceramics 

Georgie @acitygirlatheart

Djamila @djamilasfreshfeasts

Marta  @marta.matson

I can’t thank Yvonne enough for having me, I’m stunned I got to experience these few days. I left feeling inspired, hopeful and so lucky having been part of such a beautiful group of people. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: I was very kindly invited to this event, but under no obligation to share. However as a photographer the whole experience was a visual treat and I can’t help but share the images. I hope you like them! All thoughts and images my own.

Nomadic | A Woodland Dining Experience

On Saturday I was hired to photograph an outdoor event in Buckinghamshire, a private wood is host to Nomadic’s unique dining experience. Guests experience an immersive foraged feast surrounded by nature with dinner cooked by a talented chef. Each event differs, depending on the time of year, the chef and the weather. The chef creating Saturday’s feast was Chris Hruskova, a Danish michelin starred chef who now runs a bakery in London. It was a joy to photograph, something I just love shooting observationally, capturing events as they happen and this event gave me so much to capture. Thanks for having me Noah!

Disclosure, I was hired to photograph the event, I was not asked or paid to blog about the event. All thoughts my own I just wanted to share something I enjoyed here.

Daylesford Farm | A Foraging Day

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This post was originally featured on 91 Magazine, posting it here with some more imagery from the day

Daylesford farm began its organic journey 35 years ago. Now, one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK, its 2350 acres in the Cotswolds is also home to a beautiful farm shop, restaurant, café, a spa, cottages and a cookery school.

There’s a huge amount of social interest at the moment in slow living and home cooking with edible flowers (according to my online world), which seemingly has never been more popular. Elderflower season is starting and Instagram and Pinterest are full of images of foraged finds being turned into cordial, cakes and more. So it was hugely inspiring to spend the day at Daylesford on the Wild Food & Foraging Course to find out more about the plants and flowers that we pass by everyday that can be added to make simple meals more interesting and visually more stunning.

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Tim (pictured above) is Daylesford’s resident forager and we were lucky enough on this day to have Garry Eveleigh AKA The Wild Cook join us adding his expertise in what can be eaten in the woodlands of the Daylesford estate.

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We spent a good two hours walking through the woods, fields and by the lake, stopping along the way to collect or avoid certain plants, taste what was being picked. This included wood sorrel, ground ivy, yellow celandine and pretty purple honesty flowers. At the time I visited, wild garlic was in abundance and we all collected huge bunches of it, some to be used when we returned to the school but plenty to take home with us too.

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Back at the school we snacked on Anzac biscuits from the farm shop and drank Bloody Marys with wild Horseradish that the chef had prepared before making our own Foragers Butter. (find the recipe at the end of this post)

With our baskets of plants and flowers we made our own salads; creating salad dressings and choosing from an array of vinegars, mustards and oils from the larder to suit our own palettes. Added to our salads, chef served venison carpaccio and raw asparagus in a simple dressing.

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Nettles were used to make a nettle ice cream, which was served with forced rhubarb. There was a huge amount of knowledge being shared and lots of tasting and simple recipes being whipped up, like homemade mayonnaise, to show us how quick and easy it is and also how much better it tastes than shop bought.

The whole day was a wonderful experience, a great introduction into foraging and simple ways you can implement it into a busy life. When lunch was over we all had a browse in the farm shop, I bought the cider vinegar and those Anzac biscuits and there may have been a few other things that made it into my basket too!

Three interesting things I discovered:

1. Washing stinging nettles will take out the sting

2. Buttercups are poisonous(!)

3. Raw asparagus in a simple dressing are delicious.

Making your own butter

- 900ml of cream will make around 400g of butter

  • Beat the cream with an electric whisk until it peaks and starts to clump and then white liquid starts to appear. The cream has now separated into curds of butter and buttermilk. It takes about 10 minutes. Strain the curds out of the buttermilk

  • In a bowl of very cold water drop in the curds to draw out any further milk. Squeeze the butter together to form a ball and then add your foraged flowers and a little salt (if you want a salted butter). Work the butter so your added ingredients are evenly distributed. Roll the butter into a sausage shape and wrap tightly in cling film.

The butter will keep for a week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.

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