Bread Dough Workshops

Dundee Workshops

While doing my MA at Dundee University, I did some workshops with peers and in the community.  First up two of my peers and I did an activity workshop day in the college for students. People popped in throughout the day and it was just very casual and laid back.  It was interesting to see out of all the different students that made dough that day, the girl that was a sculpture student was so natural and uninhibited  when she handled the dough in comparison to others who took a bit of time to get going.

Uptight dough man

Next we ventured out to the Zoology museum  at Dundee University.  A fascinating venue and Hope managed to get a few victims for us to practice on.  The dough shapes had a distinctly  fossil like appearance.

The next series of workshops were a bit more  challenging but also rewarding. We went to the Gilfillan memorial church for four friday lunchtime meetings which cater for the homeless and socially deprived people.  They come and have lunch and then we invited them upstairs to the workshops. The attendance was very limited but the folk that did turn up seemed to enjoy themselves. Below is ‘owl pig’ which a lovely lady made after a  quiet start, she really started to embrace the dough.  The snout in the middle of him is actually one of my wee bread men  – they get everywhere!!  


I had a one-to one dough making session with a Psychology student from the university.  We set up a video camera to film just our hands.  I also recorded our conversation and made a transcript of it. It was fascinating to watch what she did with the dough while we were have a meaningful conversation. There were times when she was pushing it away from herself, breaking it up into pieces, layering it,  and at one point she held it down very firmly with one hand and picked wee bits off with the other.  She made one little dough shape, like a little snake, which felt fairly contrived but it was the other shape that was more interesting. While we were busy chatting , her fingers were digging into the dough, it was like she was exerting her authority, making her mark. In her feedback, she said she felt it was a worthwhile and therapeutic  experience. It was like ‘fiddling with permission’  and a great outlet for expression and a physical experience at a basic level.

I did a workshop with the Hard of Hearing Group which is a group of elderly ladies who meet weekly. They were a lovely, feisty bunch and made some very interesting shapes and sculptures. I loved the connections they made about dough and homelife and being children remembering their mothers making bread. They said it was good exercise for their hands.

Hard of Hearing ladies

My biggest workshop was 15 students from Dundee University Mental Health Society. Apparently the places got filled up very quickly which was very heartening to hear. Everyone made dough and I took along some sugar, yeast and salt in case people wanted to take their dough home to cook and eat.They were predominantly women attending with just two men. There were varying degrees of confidence and comfort with playing with the dough and a lot of interest in the beginning just playing with the flour and feeling its texture. I heard most saying that they hadn’t made bread before. This surprised me.

Dough Plait

Shapes were hearts, plaits and knots and figures, one volcano and little loaves of bread. I got them all to make a fist and I love to see all the shapes people make , they are so organic like vertebrae. One girl said they reminded her of a foetus.

Dough Fists

The general feeling in the room was light and fun and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We took some photos which went on their Facebook page and some of the participants sent me some cool feedback.

Visit to the Bread Houses Network, Sofia, Bulgaria


Down a pot-holey road in a residential part of Sofia, there is a small bright and airy community bakery.   They train local people, some with social issues, to make bread and work in the business.   In another area next to the bakery is a workshop and training area.   All day long , you have the aroma of freshly baked bread!

My 3 days in September were so inspirational that if I had any doubts before about the value of bread therapy, they are now blown away, as was I!  My training was a mixture of learning about the Breadhouse network, their mission, experiences and goals for the future and working with the special needs group who came for bread therapy.

It was great to travel again and be part of another culture and community. Its refreshing and helps me focus on what’s important by seeing a much bigger picture.    I sometimes feel quite isolated at Uni working on my bread projects so this has been good affirmation that the ideas and feelings I have about dough therapy are sound.    I have learnt new techniques about bread therapy and not just that but also the career game and about setting up a social enterprise bakery, helping disabled people learn a skill and work in the community.

It has inspired me, invigorated me to meet other ‘changebakers’ especially Nadia, what a charismatic person. Her knowledge energy and enthusiasm, you cant help but be excited.


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