Looking to trees, flowers & seaweed, Hazel Stark uses all natural dyes for her textiles

Hazel is a London based designer-maker creating unique textiles through natural processes. In researching and developing her natural dyeing methods, Hazel has tried and tested formulas that can produce exquisite colours. She works with only natural ingredients: from trees, plants & flowers to seaweed.

Hazel decided to leave the big smoke to spend a Summer with us working as a Pizzatipi chef; helping to come up with tasty salads, desserts and pizza specials. That was three years ago and she's been a great friend of fforest ever since. We are huge admirers of Hazel's work. We got to learn lots about it during the time she spent with us at the Pizzatipi, so it was a no-brainer that we should invite her to share her knowledge and artistic skill with us and our fforest Gather guests.

Last year, Hazel led her brilliant natural dyeing and indigo dyeing workshops at fforest farm; foraging for plants and flowers to then be used to dye fabric. Hazel's workshops are insightful and fulfilling as a result of dyeing fabrics naturally with plants and flowers foraged by your own hands. You learn so much and are astonished at the array of beautiful colours you can produce from natural dyeing recipes. We're very excited to have Hazel back with us for both weeks of Gather this August.

Nettle, blackberry & ragwort

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Illtud Llyr Dunsford: A humble Welsh farmer sharing his passion for charcuterie 

Illtud Llys Dunsford is not only an award winning Charcutier and a Nuffield scholar, he is committed to and passionate about conscious food production. 

Recently made chairman of the slow food movement in Wales, his products are delicious and wonderful and of the highest quality. We are very lucky to have had him at fforest to teach us all about charcuterie and sausage making at Gather last year, he will be joining us again for both weeks in August for his second year as a fforest Gather contributor - we cannot wait! 

Read a short history of Illtud's first steps in starting his now thriving business...

'So how did this little business come about? Well, firstly I should introduce myself – I’m Illtud Llyr Dunsford, it’s a bit of a mouthful I know! I’m sometimes known as Illtud, sometimes as Llyr and quite often known by my nickname ‘Bob’ too. I’m from a farming family, and we’ve been rearing animals here in Carmarthenshire for a couple of centuries now. Although I was born and brought up in Cardiff, my weekends and holidays were spent on the family farm, and when the opportunity arose, I moved to the farm to live in 2004.
As a family we’d always reared animals for ourselves – turkeys, chickens, ducks, lamb, beef and pork. Having a real passion for cooking it seemed like a natural progression for me to take over the reigns when it came to processing our animals. One animal in particular had a special place in my heart – the pig. We’d always salted our pork in the traditional Carmarthenshire method, encasing the animal in salt in a slate tray before hanging and air drying. Using traditional family recipes as a base I expanded my repertoire of produce and developed various new processes. Some things worked and some didn’t, but I loved the thrill of experimentation.
One year I salted a leg, but unfortunately I hadn’t managed to get enough salt around the bone which resulted in a miss-cure – the following year I decided to de-bone the leg, splitting it in two prior to salting. Unbeknown to me, I was making a variation of Culatello, one of the most prized Italian air dried meats. I was heartened to think, a few years later when I found out about Culatello, that at some point an Italian farmer had probably had the very same problem as me and had decided to take the logical path of splitting the leg.
My working career couldn’t have been further from charcuterie production – I’d initially trained as a photographer, then moved to work in the film industry for the Wales Screen Commission, attracting film productions to Wales. During my time there I worked on over 150 different productions and was very fortunate to work on some pretty big projects including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 and Pt 2, Robin Hood, Stardust and Doctor Who.
For a few years I’d been looking to start a business from the farm – it’s where I’m happiest, so during the winter of 2010 I made the decision to leave my job and start up Charcutier Ltd. That’s when the work really began, I spent the next twelve months researching processes, developing products and attending every kind of training event I could find. I’ve been a devotee of the St John mantra – Nose to Tail Eating and I wanted to find a whole gamut of products that would make use of ‘everything but the squeal’. Thanks to the Welsh Government’s Re-Act Scheme I secured grant aid to attend a series of training courses including attending the 33rd Annual Sausage and Processed Meats Course at Iowa State University in the USA. There I got to rub shoulders with a range of professionals, ranging from small producers like myself to the biggest meat processing companies in the World. Later in the year I returned to the US as part of a Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales Livestock Scholarship, I spent just over four weeks looking at both livestock rearing and pork processing and blogged about it during the trip. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Parma Ham Festival in Langhirano in September 2011, a must see for any air dried meat devotee.
I’ve continued to research and undertook a further Italian trip to Perugia in 2012, specifically to the famed town of Norcia renowned throughout Italy for its butcheries. The trip also allowed me to look at some bespoke equipment for the Italian salumi industry and later that same year I visited Germany for that same purpose. I continued with my studies in 2013 with a visit to see Kate Hill at her cooking school in Gascony, and took a tour of the French Basque region to learn about Bayonne Ham and the Basque Pig. Thanks to a Taste Local bursary I also visited Denmark to look at the full pork supply chain from small niche Organic pork units to intensive systems.
So what of the future? A range of products have already been developed at the Food Centre Wales and we’re still working on a few others to get them ready for the market. Planning permission has been secured and our new on-farm facility will be built in 2014. We’re already doing direct deliveries of fresh produce and selling at Farmers Markets, so if you fancy trying the produce, get in touch!'

find out more about Gather and book your tickets here

Visit the Charcutier website here

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'Evil' Gordon finds exciting ways to share his love of bread, beer & fire

A very good friend of fforest, Gordon (a.k.a 'Evil' Gordon) works for the revolutionary company,
Beer Bods, and is also a keen home-baker. 

At Gather, Gordon has lead workshops involving bread, beer & fire, effectively combining his love of all these three things simultaneously. From beer-cocktails to sourdough taster sessions, he has exciting ways of sharing his passion for food & drink in a setting where he feels most comfortable: the great outdoors. His baking workshops focus on cooking with fire and include dough-making tutorials & baking breads in fforest's outdoor, woodfired clay ovens.

Gordon will be joining us again for both weeks of Gather in August and we couldn't be more excited!

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Discovery & adventure in the great outdoors; Gather brings the best of fforest together

For 10 years fforest has been creating great family adventures, hosting great events, building creative workshops and promoting the outdoors in our magical kingdom. In our big tents or barns, we’ve had incredible speakers, performers, adventurers, artists and renegades. We’ve looked after thousands of people at over 100 events; intimate events where everyone knows, or gets to know, everyone else. It’s time to create an event that brings the best of fforest together, a holiday full of creative engagement with the vibe of a festival...

The fforest Gather.

Two week long family friendly gatherings with emphasis on engagement, exchange and fun. The great outdoors, activity for mind, soul and body, creativity and simple pleasures have always been bound to what we offer. At Gather, a revolving cast will provide workshops, creative play and outdoor activity in the day; films, live music, DJs and performers in the evenings. 

Choose between one of two weeks (or come for a fortnight!) 
Gather 2016 weeks are:
Monday August 14th to Sunday 20th &
Monday August 21st to Sunday 27th

All workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are included in the ticket price. First come, first served but without the worry of missing out:
Illustration; painting; writing; field recording; fly-tying; printmaking; cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; fforest garden lessons; chocolate making; forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; canoeing; wild swimming.

Evening music:
Heard, overheard, listened to, talked about, spun, performed. 
Music and DJs form the backdrop to the Gather evenings.

fforest accommodation:
Pitch a tent or treat yourself to a bit of luxury, every aspect of your good night’s sleep has been thought of at Gather. For just 2 weeks of the year we offer you the chance to bring your own tent to fforest. Tent Pitches are a massive 5x8m and you are welcome to have as many tents in your pitch as you like. 
OR, have a look through our range of accommodation to decide which is best for you. We have Domes, Crog Lofts, Katacabins & Campshacks, find out more here.

Staying at fforest is always an event. Gather will make the best of all fforest has to offer.

book here

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Nick Hand revives & celebrates the artisan craft of letterpress printing

Nick brings age-old machinery, technique & skill to his Gather workshops. Now considered an artisan craft, letterpress printing is beautifully revived and celebrated by Nick and his letterpress team, and then shared with our eager Gather guests.

Nick will be joining us for the 2nd time at Gather this year. He will teach you all about the art of printing with presses, an authentic mode of printing that is often overlooked in today's digital world. But it is an art-form that should never be forgotten. Printing in this way creates more than just a beautiful finished product, it becomes an art from start to finish. Every element of the process needs artistic attention: choosing your paper, letters, ink, composition... a satisfying and utterly fascinating workshop with beautiful outcomes.

A bit more about The Letterpress Collective...

Bringing slumbering presses back to life to engage with artists, writers and community projects in Bristol. The Letterpress Collective teaching both type composition and printing skills.
The Letterpress Collective has spent 2013 gathering beautiful wood and lead type as well as collecting amazing printing presses including a lovely Heidelberg Windmill Platen (winched out of the store MShed by dockside crane), a Stephenson Blake proofing press and a set of nice little Adana hand presses.
Silently, and without anyone really noticing, the last commercial letterpress printer shut its doors in Bristol in 2012 after maybe 600 years of continuous work in the city. This is our chance to learn from the last of the printers and compositors in the city so that a new generation can understand and learn the thrill of working a small press and seeing your creation in ink on paper.

find out more about Gather and book your tickets here

Visit the letterpress collective website here

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Book here