Wild for Flowers - A Creative Gathering with Yvonne Comber
You know sometimes in life when things happen and you have to pinch yourself to believe they are true? Last year was one of those occasions, when the email came through from Georgie to invite me and a few others down to Devon for a creative retreat with Yvonne Comber, whilst I replied instantly with a YES, I was also filled with crippling doubts. Why me? It must be some mistake! And when the voices got really bad: “am I going to be killed?”. Oh brain you beautiful, crazy being!
Killed we were not, in fact quite the opposite. We all came away nourished in so many ways, from the food we ate to the conversations we had, life felt lighter after a few days in Totnes.
So when the invitation came through this year, that Yvonne wanted to repeat the gathering my tummy started fluttering with excitement. The thought of a few days to myself, albeit surrounded by other people, but away from my freelance work and family life and of another road trip was my best travel buddy Lulu was palpable. So again, I replied immediately with a YES!
Looking back at my photos from last year in comparison to this year, it’s clear how much has changed and being back in Totnes triggered many memories of who I was this time last year. Most of the folk wanted to know what had happened with that corporate job that I had evidently spent most of the time complaining about and it felt liberating to be able to tell them that I had taken the leap. But what was most surprising was how comfortable I felt in my own skin this year, imposter syndrome was kept at bay and I know I spoke openly about my life to those that I engaged with. These two days were so much more than a creative retreat for me, it was a celebration of women doing things their own way, not conforming to what is expected of us when it comes to careers and lifestyles and it was incredibly inspiring to be part of it.
I have so much to share about the trip, and not enough words to sum it all up, so instead I have decided to share a visual diary of the two days here on my blog. Two days of complete and utter bliss, that I felt incredibly privileged to have been invited to and to have attended.
Home for the night
We rested our heads and whiled our time away at Pip Farm B&B. The most beautifully converted farm house, set in the rolling hills of Devon with green fields filled with sheep for as far as the eye can see. You feel at home as soon as you walk in the door, Pip Farm is a calming space with plenty of space to relax and vast gardens to run wild in!
The Flowers, oh the flowers!
Marta provided us with more flowers than we could have possibly hoped and dreamed of. Bold peonies and striking fox gloves filled vessels that caught the light from the windows and the corner of our eyes. Shifted around from place to place, the flowers were the perfect partner for Yvonne Comber’s paintings, where nature blended into art.
The woman behind the art
Yvonne Comber is a kind hearted, gentle soul with a colourful history and a love of nature! She opened her studio, her home and her gallery to us over the two days and revealed more about what inspires her art and the values she holds true to her. It takes a certain level of vulnerability and authenticity to allow yourself to share the full you, the personal details of her home and her family life. To see her home, which truly is a home, was wonderful, it’s clear that Yvonne Comber lives and breathes her art!
A visit to Dartington Hall
“A beautiful estate and innovative charity” according to google, which I would agreed with but it is so much more. I read someone once that the way to design a garden is to ensure you build intrigue into the layout, no matter the size, so you are surprised and delighted as layers are peeled back and revealed. And Dartington has nailed that. It was a feast of the eyes and senses and I just wish I had had more time to lose myself in the many hidden corners, I will be back!
Time to play
Amongst the visits to studios and Totnes town, were scattered mini creative sessions including a pinterest upskilling from Curly Carrot, a social media discussion with Julia of Humphrey and Grace Insta fam and a mini dried wreath workshop from yours truly. We also between us took a lot of photos! And dressed up in vintage dresses for impromptu photo shoots - we nourished our minds, bodies and souls over those few days and made firm connections with people who a mere 36 hours earlier were internet strangers!
A huge thanks goes to Yvonne and her team for putting together such a wonderful gathering and to all my fellow creatives for being so present and open!