It's been a few weeks since we had our Assembly Spring/Summer Gathering for the year so I thought I'd take you inside and show you what we got up to.
These Gatherings are pretty all consuming for me in the lead up - so much thought, preparation, promotion, sourcing and energy goes into putting this day together and I love it. I do. It flexes creative muscles in me that I want to build but make no mistake, it also takes a small army of helpers around me to make it happen. I am so grateful for all the people who were on my team for this Gathering - so many beautiful women who made it all come together - with their skills, expertise, encouragement and generosity.
We headed back to the gorgeous home of Erin and Jo (The Edible Flower) in Saintfield for this years Gathering and it is such a warm, generous space. It takes a special couple to have the courage and tenacity to be able to host 40 women for the day so effortlessly. They cleared out space for us, cooked delicious food for us, led a workshop, lit campfires and were generally amazing.
Setting up and bringing a vision of table settings and flowers and backdrops is such an exciting part of this role for me and I was so lucky to have Kelly from Ciderpress Lane as my right hand woman to help with setting up. Kelly runs similar dinners and workshops through her awesome business Ciderpress Lane in Seattle, Washington and we connected over IG ages ago through mutual friends. It just so happened that she was in Ireland on vacation the same time as our Gathering was happening so I scooped her up and was so thrilled that we could finally meet in real life and she could come and be part of Assembly with us!
I also had the absolute pleasure of bringing in Lindsey from The Wildflower to make the table come alive with some gorgeous spring blooms. I cannot tell you how happy these flowers made me - they were the perfect peachy tones and really made the table look so special (you'll see them in situ later on down the post). Lindsey is such a dream to work with and totally got my ideas and the feel I wanted to create. If you ever need anything floral done, she's your girl.
We were also so lucky to have Steph and Matt from This Old Home come and bring some of their stunning backdrops for different spaces around the Gathering. These guys have such style and warmth and their gorgeous wooden backdrops brought a really unique element to the different spaces around the property. The dressed wooden triangle finished off our dining space beautifully and the chevron backdrop we used to serve welcome cocktails from was something really special. Such a gorgeous fam they are (their beautiful boy Tom got in on the action while we set up) with such creative know-how.
After everyone arrived and had a seasonal cocktail and some canapes we broke up into workshops - one half of the group heading out to meet with Jo and learn about seasonal gardening, growing your own veg and getting a chance to pot some plants to take home. Erin and Jo have a large vegetable garden where they grow much of the food they cook and cater with so Jo took us on a tour. I don't know anyone more enthusiastic about soil, crop rotation and the ultimate joy of growing your own than Jo. She is utterly joyfully contagious and a wealth of info. They are going to be running some twilight gardening sessions (with yummy food included) on their property during July/August so if learning more about this stuff is your thing you should get along!
While one group got their hands dirty, the other half of the group headed over to the cow byre to meet up with Tonya from Infinity Farm. Tonya is an urban beekeeper and came along to take a workshop on making beeswax products. Everyone had a chance to make some scented beeswax lipbalm and an eco-friendly beeswax wrap (alternative to cling film/tinfoil) to take home! The smells coming from the workshop space were heavenly as everyone had a go at blending essential oils into their beeswax lipbalms.
Then to feast! And feast we did. The Edible Flower team put on such a spread of food for us, I was satisfyingly bursting at the seams at the end of the night. Soup, scones, homemade sourdough pizza made in their brand new wood-fired pizza oven with local, seasonal toppings and the most incredible rhubarb pavlova to finish.
Denby provided us with sets of plates from their new Studio Blue collection and they looked beautiful on the table with the optical white stonewashed linen tablecloths and indigo linen napkins provided by the wonderful LinenMe. It's all of these small details that bring a table together, don't you think?
Everyone was also treated to a little gift from two amazing companies. Some organic sunscreen from Green People and a beautiful selection of candles and tealights from The Botanical Candle Company (which were opened with audible gasps at how beautiful they were). The candle scents were 'Greenhouse' and 'Cutting Garden' which just felt so perfect given our seasonal workshops. Big huge love and thanks to Green People and The Botanical Candle Co. for being so generous with their products.
How gorgeous are these mamas with their fresh new babies? Assembly is always accommodating of new babies (and you'll never be short of someone to hold your baby while you eat)!
And so this is where the magic happens; around the table. Conversations deepen, connections are made as we relish in the simple pleasure of eating and drinking together. It's always my favourite time to take stock - to look around the room at people getting to know each other, laughing and making space for their own nourishment. Such a joy.
After dinner we retreated to the campfire and had warm milky chai tea before we said our goodbyes and packed down.
Thank you so much to everyone who made our Spring/Summer Gathering such a treat. To those who came, threw themselves into workshops and made new connections, to our incredible hosts and the team of women who brought it all together. A special final thank you again to our amazing photographer Rachel from Martha & Pine Photography. She captured the day so beautifully and these images are all her amazing work. She is a magician.
If you want to be part of what Assembly is all about - making space to reflect, learn, gather and grow into our creative selves - then you might want to think about joining our Members Community. This is a warm, inclusive group of women from the North and South of Ireland who want to invest in the community aspect of Assembly on a regular basis. Members get discounts on tickets to all Assembly events, get together at members only meet ups, have access to live workshops in our buzzing private facebook group and have the opportunity to take part in special projects together that empower women in need.
If that sounds like something you'd like to be part of, come join us! Doors are only open for a little while so click here to join today!