On this second day of The Alchemy of Hospitality, we had two outdoor workshops: flower foraging and arranging, and natural dyeing. It was a chilly day, so we worked fast and hovered over the fire and consumed lots of hot chocolate, coffee and tea. I’m thankful for our wonderful students who put up with the cold for these workshops!
Melinda, my co-host, and I each love creating a moment in time where we bring people together around a shared table. We love opening our small (but cozy) homes, allowing our guests to see us when we’re most vulnerable, in our kitchens, around our dining tables, lounging on the couch. In our personal space, families present, flaws, imperfections and shortcomings all out in the open. We love every element of preparing for sharing time with others: planning the meal, selecting linen napkins, experimenting with new dishes, laying the table, creating a mood with music and wine. Perhaps even dyeing a new batch of linens for the table, or taking a walk in the woods for fresh foliage.
For The Alchemy of Hospitality, Melinda and I wanted to explore various aspects of hospitality, from having a prepared pantry through canning and preserving, to bread-baking and cheese-making. From how to make the most delicious soups to how to dye kitchen fibers with natural materials. From foraging and arranging seasonal foliage, to planning for and setting the table for a crowd.
Along with our workshops, we had so many wonderful conversations and times of pure community with our students and helpers. It was simply lovely. Hospitality isn’t about being perfect (although it is good to be prepared, which can sometimes just be an attitude of preparedness and readiness). It’s about opening your home and welcoming friends and strangers alike. It’s about being vulnerable, telling a story through your space, creating a welcoming safe-haven for your guests, and creating beauty in every area you are able, as an act of service!
I might have hosted a retreat on The Alchemy of Hospitality, but I have, by no means, mastered this art. Every day I struggle with feelings like my home isn’t big enough and I come up with silly excuses like my guests will be uncomfortable. Taking it one day at a time and one gathering at a time and lots of prayers!
Photos by Sweet Root Village.
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