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Creative workshop in Tuscany

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Creative workshop in Tuscany

Validrose Emiko Davis Kathryn Davey Marta Abbott

Last June I was fortunate to spend a week at the stunning Mèlisses on the Island of Andros, sharing the process of natural dyeing with an inspiring group of people. The experience was incredible and deserves its own post which I will get to soon. It was there I met Emiko Davis, cookbook author, chef extraordinaire, photographer and all-round beautiful human. She briefly mentioned doing something together with another friend of hers, Marta Abbott, an artist using natural inks to create stunning work.

Emiko Davis Validrose Kathryn Davey Natural dye workshop

Validrose Emiko Davis Kathryn Davey Marta Abbott

When Emiko asked if I would be available to do a workshop with her this May, I jumped at the opportunity to spend more time with this lovely woman. Together with Marta & Irene, we will be hosting a workshop, where we will forage to create handmade ink and natural dyes in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. 

Marta Abbott

Marta is a Czech-American artist currently based in Italy who will be showing us how to create & paint with ink made from foraged materials.  I am really excited to meet & learn from Marta as I have never tried her medium although I imagine there are many similarities between our processes. 

Our venue will be the stunning Validrose, a B & B located on the hills of Lastra a Signa, a 15-minute train ride from Florence. Valdirose is a family home from the second half of the 19th Century run by Paolo & Irene. 

We will spend our time gathering/creating natural inks & dyes for paper & cloth. While Irene, Valdirose’s owner, will guide us through a styling and flower arranging class.  Although I have yet to meet our hosts their home looks incredibly inviting & I cannot wait to spend a few days in their company. 

Validrose Emiko Davis Kathryn Davey Marta Abbott


  Emiko is an Australian-Japanese cookbook author based in Florence. Before writing three cookbooks on regional Italian cuisine, she studied art restoration in Florence and Fine Art in the US. She will sustain us with local and seasonal food, that will no doubt be a sensory feast! As Emiko wrote on her blog "think fried Robinia flowers and wisteria, stinging nettle tortellini and saffron hued pasta, elderflower infused sponge cake". Some of the meals will be made together and all will be shared on long tables with natural wines, on the charming grounds of Valdirose. 

Validrose Emiko Davis Kathryn Davey Marta Abbott

Validrose Emiko Davis Kathryn Davey Marta Abbott

I got so carried away by everyone else that I almost forgot to mention my part in all this! I will be sharing the magic and alchemy of natural dyes. We will be going through the process from start to finish, from foraging to creating dye baths. We will be dyeing lots of swatches and samples and will finish with a completed piece ( a surprise ). You will get to immerse yourself in the creative process of both ink making and natural dyeing in one of the most beautiful parts of the world with amazing food and great company. I cannot wait to meet everyone and share in this incredible experience. For more detailed information on the workshop, dates & costs please visit Emikos site here

{UPDATE: Only 1 spot left for SINGLE occupancy or 2 spots in a twin room/double occupancy}