At the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to the first gathering of Yonder Collective, which saw 20 creatives from the South West come together in Bristol for an evening of inspiration, encouragement and delicious seasonal food.
Yonder Collective is a new initiative founded by Emma Chapman-Burnett (who’s also behind the @livebristol Instagram project), with the aim of giving people a platform to connect, share innovation and build ideas. The inaugural dinner certainly did that. It was held at Harts Bakery, which is hidden under an archway behind Temple Meads train station and which has become a bit of a Bristol institution (if you’re ever in town, the custard tarts are must-tries!). This lovely little café, normally buzzing with commuters and activity from an open kitchen, had been transformed for the evening into a cosy, magical space, with flickering candles, rustic foliage and the soft hum of cheerful chatter.
Echoing Yonder Collective’s spirit of collaboration, there were contributions from a host of talented folk – festive table arrangements by Amy of Wired Styling, menus and place cards by Christine of Hukurou Illustration, coffee from local roaster Little & Long. The food was a particular treat – a healthy, happy feast of winter vegetables prepared by James of the Chocolate Bear Kitchen, followed by beautiful dessert creations from Ramona of Monalogue – including a spectacular naked cake topped with macaroons, herbs and pine cones sculpted from almonds.
Conversation and wine flowed, and everyone lingered around the table long after the meal had finished. I heard plenty of inspiring stories from people who are turning their dreams into a reality – photographers, bloggers, designers and more, all with the same desire to create, share and connect with others. It was the kind of evening where friendships were forged and new collaborations formed, and I left with a full stomach and a mind buzzing with ideas.
A whole series of Yonder Collective gatherings are planned for 2016, so if you’d like to hear about future events email them or follow on Instagram @yondercollective
Images by Colin Ross Photography