A Creative Workshop Retreat in Southern Italy

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Some things just seem fated. When planning a feature on contributor and stylist Ruth Forsyth’s house for a 2016 issue of Image Interiors & Living, the photographer had to be Doreen Kilfeather. We knew they’d hit it off immediately. “My kids and I fell in love with her," explains Ruth. "And she has really been such a wonderful mentor to me on my own personal creative journey since."

Soon afterwards, she attended a workshop by Kathryn Davey, a self-taught natural dyer based in Dublin, with a focus on ethical fabrics and sustainability. “She has such a gorgeous way about her, a gentle creative spirit that you just want to be in her company.”


The talented trio have now decided to merge their creative talents into a collaborative workshop retreat in the hills of Southern Italy this October 26-29. The three-night escape to a beautiful sixteenth century farmhouse estate will encompass delicious food and the spectacular views of Masseria Potenti, with Kathryn’s approach to natural dyeing from foraged flora, and guidance from Doreen on creating compelling visual storytelling.

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The concept was originally Kathryn’s, who messaged Ruth about her stay in Masseria Potenti. “She asked if I thought it would be a good place for a workshop,” explains Ruth, “and I thought her work would be a perfect match with this magical masseria.” When Kathryn asked if Doreen might be interested in joining, Ruth knew the answer even before she asked. “She’s always been such an admirer of Kathryn’s work.”


Masserie are common in Puglia. These old farmhouses are the perfect way to experience the way of life in these Mediterranean hills, spending time with a local family and experiencing the rustic culture and Moorish influences that are unique to the region. “I came across this particular masseria last year, while doing a bit of holiday research on Instagram and I’ve now been three times” says Ruth. The incredible farm-to-table food and Instagram-worthy setting were part of what kept bringing her back, but really it was the wonderful Di Lauro family who live there.

“The lady of the house Maria Grazia and her family have brought us to the garden to gather vegetables and herbs for our own dinners and cookery classes with them. They are all so hands-on and hard-working, yet connect with the people coming through their doors in a way I’ve never experienced before – we’re even in love with their dogs!” she laughs.

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It seemed like the perfect place to explore Kathryn’s sustainable hand-dyeing techniques and capture Doreen’s talent at imbuing atmosphere and personality into her photography. With only a small group of about ten or 12 guests, it promises to be an intimate experience encompassing hand-dyeing workshops, foraging, and visual storytelling over two days, and divine local food prepared by the Di Lauro family.

“Doreen will show us how she works her magic, teaching us to translate the setting and our dyed creations into beautiful images,” explains Ruth. “It’s not really about camera quality, bring whatever you have, it’s really about the visual storytelling and capturing the experience of the retreat.”

DATE October 26-29 2018
TICKETS €1950 Shared - €2250 Single
WHERE Puglia, Italy