Jan Cornall, writer, Australia
My Seven Gardens Residency has exceeded my best expectations. For an all too short ten days my fellow resident and I have been taken into the hearts and homes of our hosts and their extended family and friends. Not only have they generously involved us in local experiences: patteh (embroidery) workshop, weaving demonstration, bread and sweet pastry making, visits to the bazaar, local gardens, mountain driving, desert exploring and the all important Iranian art of picnicking, they have introduced us to fellow writers and artists with whom we can develop lasting relationships and possible future collaborations. In my down time I was grateful to dip my toe into my residency task of researching and Iranian poets and song. The library Sarah is collecting was most helpful and inspiring as was the time to sit on the villa terrace in the stillness of the garden and our mountain companions, whose reassuring presence accompanied us where ever we went. Thank- you for such a full and vibrant introduction to Iranian art and culture. It has been a unique and valuable time, one I will treasure forever.
Helen Kirwan, artist, England/Ireland
This has been such a wonderful residency in very many ways. I shall treasure always the warmth and hospitality we received. The introduction to Iranian traditional crafts, culture, customs and cuisine was superb. We had delicious meals and you thoughtfully introduced us to a variety of different local dishes to try: seeing the bread-making and biscuit-making were other culinary delights. You helped us learn about may aspects of contemporary Iranian culture and a great deal more besides. The opportunities for meetings and cultural exchange with other artists were excellent and bode well for continuing relationships and possible future collaborations. The atmosphere at the villa is ideal for creative thought: such a beautiful location surrounded by mountains with the garden outlook is inspirational!
Yasmine Badaoui, poet, United States/Lebanon
I left footprints in another country, in the desert, it's captial and a city and region called Kerman. In the place Americans are taught to fear, I felt a sense of home & belonging. When I wasnt mistaken as a national, i was treated kindly as a poet. Poets in Iran have a special status in the social sphere, the greats are regarded as saints, and the laymen poets like me are treated with tremendous respect in regards to their craft. As a poet in residence at Seven Gardens Residency I was able to have an authentic comfortable experience while creating abroad. I had dinner everyday with local people in their humble homes, met and connected with various artists and like-minded individuals. I learned what the price of expression can cost you and what resistance as unabashed joy looks like in everyday actions. The beauty of the county and it's people, it's love for color, patterns and artists is something I will carry with me for a long time. Thank you to Sarah and Mohamad and friends for your friendship & energy.