Artist & Writer's Residencies in Greece
In the summer of 2023, we will be opening our doors to artists and writers in the traditional and picturesque village of Kazaviti on the island of Thasos.
The village is nestled in the mountains, surrounded by forest and natural springs, bursting with history.
We are particularly trying to bring awareness to the beauty and importance of the fauna and flora of the island in an aim to build a greater sense of interdependence, for now and for future generations, human and non-human. The long term aim, in collaboration with other residents of the island is to bring a more eco-conscious awareness to the local government and to the visiting tourists which would help guide mindfulness in decision making for the health of the environment and the living creatures it supports.
Like everywhere in the world, the island is experiencing a number of environmental threats which for the most part are there due to a lack of awareness. We believe that part of the solution to building a better future is through art, writing, communication and learning.
This is where you come in! We invite you to spend some time here and soak up the beauty and energy the landscape has to offer.
There is no doubt that the scenery, wildlife and history will inspire you to create something beautiful.
The island will be generous to you, and your gift back to her will be your creativity which in turn will inspire others to look at nature differently and cherish the richness, beauty and life that it brings.
Currently the residency can take three artists/writers at a time who will live in a shared house.
The residency is open to artists and writers who work with the themes of nature.
The house and facilities
The house is a beautifully preserved traditional stone house with original carved doors and features at the top of the village at the edge of the forest with a spectacular view down the valley towards the sea.
There are three double bedrooms, each with a small desk.
The bathroom is shared and comprises of a toilet, sink and shower.
There is a fully functioning kitchen with a gas stove and fridge, freezer and larder room with washing machine.
There is a very large comfortable shared living room space.
There is a large shared indoor workshop room, a large outdoor stone terrace with work table and second wooden terrace and table at the front of the house.
There are two wood burners in the house (1 in the lounge and 1 in the workshop) and the house has double glazing and roof insulation, but you have to bear in mind that this is an old traditional stone house and that it will not be possible to keep it at a constant temperature all day.
Wood is quite expensive as it is becoming more scarce and we have to carry it all up by hand from the center of the village to the house. Therefore, we would advise you to only use the woodburners for a few hours in the evenings in the winter months and to wear a few layers in the day. You will only likely need to use it daily from January to March and possibly on the odd cooler day in November, December and April.
We live in a small house adjoining the property so we are always available for any needs or questions.
You will also have access to our large terraced garden and of course the surrounding forest which you can just walk into once you step out of the house.
It is a short walk up a steep stone path to the house from the small car park. Unfortunately the house is not accessible with a wheelchair as the house is located at the top of the village up a steep uneven stone path and steps. It could be possible to arrange a residency in another house adjacent to the main village road, however, the houses are generally two stories with uneven stone paths and steps.
There are four tavernas and a cafe in the village which are open in high season. In the winter months only two tavernas are open at the weekend.
The village is 5km from the small town of Prinos which has all the essential facilities like green grocers, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, health center, doctor, pharmacy and cafes. Every Monday there is a food market with local producers on the main square.
We are 7 km from the coastal village and beautiful beaches of Skala Prinos.
We are working on permaculture vegetable garden projects with neighbours and an indigenous island seed saving project so you will have the opportunity to learn about permaculture, help out growing food and processing seasonally harvested wild foods and medicinal herbs as well as learning how to collect, process and store seeds from wild plants and vegetables.
There is also the opportunity to volunteer on a friend's remote permaculture small holding.
We can also offer kayaking, guided hikes in the mountains and trips out in a jeep on the mountain paths.
There are many beautiful mountain hiking trails connecting all the mountain villages which are being restored by the active 'Environmental Movement of Thasos'. Along these trails there are beautiful gorges and waterfalls to bathe in.
Not very far on the mainland, you have the town of Kavala, if you feel the need to reconnect with 'modern life', further up you have the Nestos river where you can go kayaking and the Rhodopi mountain range which supports a large virgin forest where you will find bears and wolves.
Kazaviti - The village
Kazaviti is the old Roman name of the village which the locals use, translated as 'House of wine'. The village was once know for it's wine which in ancient Greek days was exported to Athens for every important parties and festivities. The modern village name is Megalos Prinos, named after the 'Prinos' tree which is abundant in the valley.
The houses are exceptionally preserved in the old style architecture of Northen Greece with thick stone walls, stone roofs, narrow paths and limited access to cars.
The whole village is surrounded by old roman terraces and aquaducts, once cultivated and allowing the villages to be self-sufficient. The terraces have now mostly been over taken by forest but you can still see evidence of past cultivation with nut and fruit trees and vines growing wild everywhere, creating a real food forest.
Depending on the season, you will be bathed in the beautiful sounds of wildlife. In the spring you can hear many migrating birds and nightingales. In the summer, the ciccadas take over the soundscape whereas the autumn is filled with the shreek of the edible doormouse (once a Roman delicacy) and the winter makes way for the owls.
Fee coming soon!
The fee will include water and internet - wood and electricity consumption will be worked out separately.
It will also include some guided hikes with Leah and the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other local ecologists and artists.
The price does not include food, wood (if you come in the winter months), transport, materials or personal health insurance.
We have insurance but it is advised to get personal health insurance and/or european or world insurace cards.
We would recommend coming for at least a month as this will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself properly into the pace and place.
We are looking into the possibilty of doing an exhibition of the work produced at the end of your stay, but this is currently an ongoing discussion with local premise owners.
Abigail and Leah have been running the Water & Rock gallery (formerly know as Bristol Contemporary Art) since 2011.
From the beginning, they had a vision of a gallery that worked with artists passionate about nature and whose work would inspire the spectator to reconnect with their natural environment. As the years progressed, they felt the limitations of the gallery for artist and spectator to fully express their creativity, and so was born the idea to create immersive courses where the artist, writer, wellbeing practitioner would be fully able to explore their different passions and merge them into a harmonious experience.
Abigail McDougall is a painter, writer and musician, selling her work internationally. Her work is concerned with studying the light and flow of water. See her work here.
Leah Heming is an illustrator, art director and qualified nature guide. She has experience working as a local tour guide and has a self-taught passion for ethnobotany and ecology. See her illustration here.
Abigail & Leah moved to Greece in 2019 with the intention of building their project and getting involved with the local community and environmental projects. They are currently collaborating on a local indigenous seed saving project and creating organic vegetable gardens in the village.
Together they write regular essays on their thoughts and experiences of moving abroad and sowing the seeds of new ideas. You can read and follow their writings here.
Getting to Thasos
KAVALA: The closest airport is Kavala with flights managed by Tui but this only operates in the high season.
THESSALONIKI: The next closest and possibly cheapest with flights by Easyjet, Aegean & Ryanair and Wizz Air.
ATHENS: Possibility to fly to Athens with a connecting flight to Kavala with Olympic airline .
From Kavala Airport:
TAXI: there is a taxi service costing approximately €20 from the airport to Keramoti port. From Keramoti there are regular 35 minute ferry crossings to Thasos town/Limenas.
See ferry schedule here.
HIRE CAR: see below for hire car suggestions
From Thessaloniki airport:
TAXI: there is a group taxi service from Thessaloniki airport to Keramoti port costing €40 per person (this discount is if there are multiple people) which takes 2h30. This is a good, stress free option. From Keramoti there are regular 35 minute ferry crossings to Thasos town/Limenas.
BUS: from the airport you must either get a taxi to the Makedonia bus station (approx €30 per person) or a city bus (approx €4 per person - 1 hour).
At Macedonia bus station there are regular buses to the city of Kavala. See timetables here.
The ferry crossings from Kavala port to Skala Prinos are less frequent than from Keramoti port and take 1h15 mins. See ferry crossings here and click on the Skala Prinos - Kavala tab, but once you reach the island you will be half an hour closer to the village than the ferry crossing to Limenas from Keramoti.
HIRE CAR: see below for hire car suggestions - it is a 2h30 drive form the airport to Keramoti port.
Hire Car / Transport
With a small contribution, there is the possibilty to use our car if you meet the requirements for our insurance.
Otherwise, there are many local hire car, bicycle and scooter companies that do good prices outside of high season (July-August).
There is a local bus that goes around the island a few times a day as well as a local taxi service. Hitchhiking is also quite easy and common on the island.
If you want the freedom to move around at your own leisure then perhaps you would like to hire a car. Otherwise, we will pick you up to and from the island ports and take you around on specific organised excursions and shopping days.
All big main hire car players are around, but we find the local companies much more amenable and better value. Here are some suggestions: