At the first meeting of the PTA this year they mentioned the idea of making a school cookbook…. (well, as you can tell from my food posts, how could I NOT get involved!) This book was to focus on the community of the local area, the vibrancy of the different cultures, the history, and food of the families in the school today….as well as being a quality publication that would sell well past the school boundaries to raise funds for the school.

Over the next few months the PTA gathered  the most amazing team of parents together with skills in photography, graphic design, fundraising, cooking, proof reading, and some who had a passion for collecting the most incredible range of plates, china and cutlery (enough to give one cupboard envy). None of us had photographed, styled food or written a book  before so we had a bit of research to do! We gathered recipes from the school families and teachers, tested hundreds of dishes, and talked with local businesses about advertising with us to cover the printing costs.

And my job? Not dissimilar to the architects role, I was the art director, however instead of overseeing builders and trades, this time I was coordinating stylists and photographers to achieve the final goal. With a a concept brief of  the vision & feel, a pinboard full of food images,  and a list of the general types of images required (Food, historical, school community, local environment, process, ingredients), we set sail.  We planned our photo shoots around key recipes, collected dishes, prayed for the right weather for outdoor shots, cooked, photographed, learnt how to handle light reflectors in a breeze and then sifted through hundreds of photographs to select those that reflected the essence of the message we wanted to convey.
Finally working with our wonderful graphic designer we tweaked images, combined them with the wonderful text and recipes sourced from the community, and shuffled them around until it felt just right.

A wonderful launch party this week revealed the printed copy – a testimony to the huge number of hours this talented team has put in and the steep learning curve we have all had to traverse. Its been a great journey and we have all gained valuable skills that we are now putting into practice in other areas of our lives.

Now to decide what next years project is going to be….


Where do I start !!! the entire Cockle Bay School Parent Teachers Association (PTA)  and the families of Cockle Bay School for producing ‘Seashells and School Bells – A taste of Cockle Bay’.

Photographers of the images above: Madeline Thibaud, Verien Lewis, Nicky Michaels, Dorothea Deidricks.

You can  follow our story here.


2 thoughts on “Community

  1. Ah – that one is lovely (of course we had to taste test the photographed items on the shoot…!) – its a ‘warm beef salad with basil dressing’ – using NZ beef of course!


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