By Christine Reid
Originally appeared in PHC's Herald 01/31
Patrick Henry College
PHC students and alumni at The Gathering Project
The Gathering Project is an initiative to foster community and bring people together by using natural elements, local artists, and creative designs to make beautiful lives and stylish food. Similar Kinfolk workshops and Edith Schaeffer’s book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, inspired Jill Roy and Chelsea Moore, the Gathering Project coordinators.
“Edith Schaeffer's book was inspiring. It helped me understand the way in which God puts his creative spirit in all of us,” Moore said.
Treated to a day filled with breakfast, lunch, and four workshops, the Gathering Project guests arrived at a private loft in Washington, D.C., greeted by an array of pastries and warm coffee from Loco Joe’s coffee shop.
The event would not have been possible without PHC alumni. Roy was a General Government major (’11) and Moore was a Journalism major (’13). Additionally, PHC alumni taught three of the four workshops.
The first workshop taught the art of wreath-making. Amy Showalter works on a third generation farm in Virginia and has hosted Kinfolk dinners, community events, and an annual barn sale. She showed attendees how to weave wreaths together using wire, boxwood brush, and other natural elements.
The second event taught how to set a fresh wintery tabletop and make party favors for guests. Rebecca Gallop (’12) is currently a prop stylist and has a blog called A Daily Something. Gallop spoke about her hospitality philosophy as she demonstrated her craft. Her philosophy involves simplicity, nature, and neutrals. Keep things clean and simple, use nature because it’s inexpensive and beautiful, and keep things neutral so that you can add flecks of character easily. Gallop advocates working with what you have to make things special and beautiful.
“We can always find something to complain about, but it is essential to find happiness where you are,” Gallop said.
After Gallop’s presentation, lunch was served, featuring three sandwich varieties on fresh, homemade bread, two salad options, and an array of fruits and cookies. There were even gluten-free and vegetarian options for guests. After a savory and aesthetically-pleasing meal together, Erik Landstrom (Literature,’12) taught a workshop on basic typography, graphic layout, and tole painting.
He is now an artist, designer, and a 5th grade teacher at a local private school. He showed workshop attendees how to create different strokes and achieve different designs for sign-making or letterwriting.
Rebekah Pizana (Journalism, ’08) is now a pastry chef and food columnist. She taught a workshop on making mixed drinks and infusing different alcohols with different herbs and flavors, such as figs and thyme.
Guests left The Gathering Project with workshop crafts, wreaths, handpainted signs, party favors for guests, and a goody-bag with jewelry and handmade treats donated from Etsy artists.
Moore and Roy plan on hosting future Gathering Project events with the same goal in mind: “A place where people can come and learn from local artists…come, make, eat, fellowship,” Roy said.
Their next event is scheduled for June. The theme is “throwing a summer dinner party.” One workshop will feature Melinda Friend, a local baker who owns Knead and Know Bread, and will be teaching the art of bread-making.