From Trinity Tibe

1 Aug - 11 Aug 2018



Trelex must remember the sonic tyranny of my typewriter, the leadheavy weight I carried from Brooklyn in a backpack, stopped twice by TSA.  The house must remember the nail, the percussion of each letter. Maybe my staccato of thought remains in the bedroom as an echo or a ghost.  Trelex remains a spirit around me, the bells of the church still ring on each of my hours.  The vaulted attic roof is a synonym for the creative space of my mind, the yellowplums turn to jam on memory’s stove.  I pray for the chickens and the fox of their trauma and the symbol of the eggs’ return.  

I thank Trelex for the luxury of time, for the mornings when I woke just to make art all day.  In New York, and I imagine in most people’s everyday lives, art can feel less like play and more like work I must get done in a set amount of time.  During my residency, I didn’t feel pressed into a productivity marathon.  I slipped into the hazy hot slow roll of countryside creativity.  A notebook and a pen at the ever-open window of the small kitchen in the morning, basking in the sweet scent of a fresh bouquet from the garden.  A big breakfast with my fellow artists.  An afternoon of heavy paper and chalk or maybe a train ride to a swim in Lake Geneva.  Evenings editing poems in my bedroom as fireworks flared in the dark sky.   No time felt wasted.  Thank you, Trelex, for the sprawling conversations with my newfound artist soulmate, Judy Pilarczyk, whom I drew a portrait of (and she also drew and painted some stunning portraits of me!).  Thank you for Sallie Harker and her lovely son, Theodore, who sat as a model while the three of us artists sketched him in our unique styles.  Thank you for the sudden thunderstorm that cut through the humidity as we sipped wine and watched the sun’s gold shine, unrelentingly brilliant light bouncing through the prism of downpour.    

My time in Trelex helped me recover from a hard winter depression that had stalled my usual extreme productivity.   I felt a bit estranged from myself as an artist (and maybe as a person), but the time I had in Trelex helped me reconnect with myself, my art, and the muse.  I submitted massive amounts of work while I was in Trelex, and since I’ve been home, some visual art I made in Switzerland was selected to be published as the cover of a prominent literary magazine (they also accepted a couple of poems!).  Now that I’m home, I’ve kept myself connected to the spirit of creativity I tapped into in Trelex.   I sit on my back porch in the mornings and fill my notebook.  I may get distracted by work and tasks and the demands of the city, but I am keeping the practice of drifting back to a book or a crayon or a pot of paint or my trusty typewriter to create a little bit more.  















Trinity Tibe

From Sallie Harker

27 Jun - 27 Aug 2018



The Trelex residency was a positive experience for myself and my son Theodore in many ways. When I arrived and realised how wonderful it all was and that I had two whole months stretching ahead of me, I couldn’t believe my luck. The ideal location between mountains lake and city, the opportunity to learn new skills at the Atelier Genevois de Gravure Contemporain, the chance to make friendships with new artists, and the time and space to look more closely at painting all added up to a fantastic residency.   

I would encourage any Trelex residents interested in printmaking to take advantage of the wonderful printmaking courses at the Atelier Genevois de Gravure Contemporain in Geneva. AGGC runs various courses in woodblock printing, screen printing etching, aquatint, typography, photo etching and mono print. I took an intensive etching and aquatint course and a screen printing course. Both of which were fantastic. All of the teachers are very professional and it is a great space to work.  It is a short bus ride from the train station in Geneva. I am hooked on learning new printmaking techniques and plan to continue by taking a lithography workshop in a printmaking studio in Havana, Cuba. Drawing is the start of my work and I was able to develop drawings from my sketchbooks into finished etchings both at AGGC and at the residency. I also did some paintings, which are now on the walls of my Art Gallery Instagram: figtreestudioantigua. There is an Antiques market once a month in the summer in Nyon. I found an old book of historical architectural gates of Paris which I have used in my woodcuts of silhouettes. There is also a useful print drying rack in the Trelex studio which I made use off for a run of mono prints.   

Several artists arrived and left during my time in Trelex. There’s this wonderful feeling of anticipation when a new artist is arriving.  You open the door and there’s an artist standing on the doorstep and the fun of welcoming them in and getting to know them and sharing time and conversation at the kitchen table is an important part off the residency. When I arrived I met Min Kim, a South Korean artist living in Amsterdam, with a great sense of humour. Her work was totally different to mine but so interesting, I loved hearing about her working process and watching her go through the struggle and joy of creativity from day to day. Then Channa arrived, an artist from Jerusalem, with Channa we took the mini and explored the Jura, we met another artist living in Geneva and visited a show of her work. We discovered the joy of bathing in the Lake and we talked about the the difficulties of balancing motherhood with being an artist. Then arrived Trinity Tibe a poet from Brooklyn bringing with her the New York hip metropolitan vibe and soon after arrived Judy Pilarczyk, a Polish painter from London. It was a joy to see Judy’s exquisite pencil drawings emerging one by one. Such a privilege to get to know these artists.   

The Trelex Residency is unusual in that artists may be accompanied by their children. I took my twelve-year-old son Theodore. I did a lot of research before I left and found activities that Theodore could do. There are plenty of camps for children to take part in Nyon and the surrounding area, I made contact with the Yacht Club in Nyon because my son is a keen sailor, they welcomed him with open arms and whisked him off to a sailing camp in France, providing him with a boat and a tent, he made new friends on the camp and continued to spend time with them back in Trelex. He also did a circus camp and more sailing at the yacht club in Nyon and there was always the large garden to run around and play football and the chickens to feed. It was also great for him to be exposed to the creative energy in the studio and to see the work of the other artists, he made himself useful by modelling for us.   

We visited Lausanne, if I had the choice of anywhere in the world I could live I would choose Lausanne. Absolutely the most beautiful city I have ever been to. The Art Brut museum is well worth a visit and the Cathedral and glass museum. I could have spent days wandering the streets marvelling at the architecture. Geneva too is great to visit in particular I enjoyed the ethnography museum and discovering small Art Galleries in Plainpalais.   

We live on a small island in the Caribbean, of 108 square miles and there is no “Art Scene” to speak of, the interaction with other artists is quite limited so I feel that this residency was particularly beneficial to me and I am encouraged to apply for more residencies in different parts off the world. Although Nina Rodin was not at Trelex during our time there, there is a creative and supportive atmosphere in the studio. She has thought of everything to make Trelex a comfortable and inspiring place to work. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and in awe of Nina’s philanthropy.  lex 









Sallie Harker

From Diana Palmer

30 Mar - 19 Apr 2018



Trélex was my first residency and an appetising taste of creative freedom. I arrived at the end of March this year and already I am imagining going back – and for longer next time. It was three weeks of exceptional physical and mental space, as well as stimulating discussions with the other artists. I became more engaged with my ideas, working methods and influences, and followed the threads of my art practice more rigorously than normal.



My work is based in painting and spatial relations, so the mountainous landscape and the uniquely designed Maison Binet made a strong impression. In my first week at Trélex I absorbed the space, countryside, architecture, light, colours, textures and atmosphere. I took loads of photos, creating a reference library of images. I quickly got to know my fellow residents, Crimson Boner and Min Kim. Even though she was in New Zealand, I met the residency’s formidable founder, Nina Rodin, via Skype on my first night. Nina’s commitment to the residency and its artists is truly limitless!



Every morning I made loose cumulative pencil drawings on paper, reacting to my surroundings with simple lines. I now want to merge the drawings in a moving image piece emphasising fluidity. I started painting by responding to the fast-changing light and weather of the Jura mountains. These elements mixed with ideas I had arrived with for continuing work.




I worked in diluted acrylic with large brushstrokes, seeking a sense of fluidity and intuitive bodily movement.    Since visiting the Ugandan jungle last year I have been working on paintings of that lush landscape and it was a continuing subject for me at Trélex. Working from images of the all-encompassing vegetation of the rainforest, I began picking out individual leaves with loose brush marks to create a minimal composition.



This jungle painting with its curving composition sparked an idea that the shape of a swag (a drooping curve) could be a useful starting point for work relating to flow and performance. I had brought with me a photo of myself paragliding, images of my grandmother performing as a dancer in the 1950s, and photos of the life drawings I had made over the previous few months. These interests could be combined in the creation of swag shapes, suggesting a theatrical space where performing figures might merge with their environment. I immediately started planning pieces around this theme for a solo show I am working towards in September. I experimented with painting a piece of cotton fabric hung loosely from the beams above the studio space. I also drew swag-shaped objects and played with fabric hung inside the back of a wooden panel to suggest a stage.



But Trélex was more than just an opportunity to reflect on my practice. The residency is a chance to become part of a global community of artists. I made connections with many other artists: Min, Crimson and Nina, as well as previous residents and those represented in the substantial library of books in the studio. Discovering their work and processes, as well as drawing encouragement from them and sharing inspiration with them, was an invaluable part of my stay at Trélex. I feel very lucky to be part of our ongoing chats.It was hard to leave Trélex and return to normal life but I came back to London invigorated, with a lot of work in progress and a determination to commit more energy to developing my practice, as well as to continue and begin conversations with other artists. Trélex provides a precious opportunity for many types of artists and I will always be grateful to Nina for creating it and encouraging artists through this generous offering of supportive engagement and creative freedom.

Diana Palmer
www.dianapalmer.co.uk


From Linda Barlow

5th June - 29th June



I had been looking forward to coming to Trelex for a long time. I have been to Switzerland before, a long time ago in the 1970's when I bicycled from Manchester to Basel, but the country hadn't really created a lasting impression, in the way that France or Spain had. I was intrigued to see what my impressions would be this time round, forty odd years later, when presumably both me and Switzerland had changed a fair bit.  

I was also fascinated by the thinking behind the residency. To be open to anyone willing to commit the time, with no selection process or hefty fees is refreshing, in what seems like a world increasingly dominated by money, results and accountability.   

I mostly paint in oils and cold wax but these take an age to dry and so aren't really suitable for residencies where transporting them home would be a problem. I used the opportunity to try out oil bars (Winsor and Newton, now sadly discontinued). These proved brilliant - they dried well enough to transport in a couple of weeks as long as I used them fairly thinly, and acted like my oil/cold wax. I also did quite a few charcoal drawings.  

As several other residents have said - it is the gift of having time and space that is the main benefit of any residency. Nina has created a unique space and is amazingly generous with her time, advice and materials. As always for me, one of the main values of a residency is meeting other artists. I was particularly lucky in getting to meet Julie, Min, Caroline and Sallie. Challenging yourself to go to another country and spend time with strangers is never an easy thing, but meeting such great people made it an absolute delight.  

I found Switzerland didn't give up her secrets easily. I am naturally drawn to wild, western, edge places, like the west coast of Ireland and Wales, so landlocked Switzerland was a very different experience for me. Its bizarre rules and seemingly conformist residents initially seemed out of kilter to what i was used to, but slowly I came to appreciate the well signed walking trails, the trains that ran on time and the super polite people. Spending six and a half hours in A&E to get antibiotics for a tic bite restored my faith that every system wasn't quite so perfect and efficient!  

I was happy with the work I did while at Trelex; the Jura mountains and the lake will hopefully provide enough inspiration for much work in the future. So many images and feelings still occasionally flash into my head - the clouds scudding over the mountains, the little train winding its way up to the top of the Jura, getting caught in a spectacularly loud thunderstorm high up in the mountains, sitting outside the church in Trelex in the evening looking at the Alps, yoga on the lawn….Ah, I'm already feeling quite nostalgic!   

Thanks Nina for making it possible.







Linda Barlow

From Julie Burtinshaw

14 May - 10 June 2018



It’s been two months plus since my residency in Trelex, Switzerland – enough time to settle into the familiar rhythms of my life on Canada’s comparatively wild and isolated west coat. As the gap between my time in Trelex and my re-entry into Vancouver widens, I find myself looking back on those idyllic six weeks with a sense of awe and gratitude.   

Awe at the quality and quantity of work I accomplished in such a short time and gratitude to Nina Rodin for her generosity in providing me with a peaceful space to read, think and work.   

If I close my eyes, I can still picture my large, light-filled studio at the top of the country house that I called home for six weeks.   

I can see the wind in the slow movement of the leaves dancing on the fruit trees or in the swaying grasses that fill the open meadows and pasture land beyond my window.  

If I concentrate I can still feel the silky, cool waters of Lake Leman against my hot skin on a cloudless spring day.   

In my mind’s eye, I can still peek out my window at the fiery Jura Mountains set aglow by the setting sun.   

If I block out the noise of everyday life, my ears fill with the early morning birdsong that pulls me gently from sleep.   

For me the peace and tranquility of the Trelex Residency meant hours of uninterrupted writing, allowing me to return home with a completed manuscript ready for publication.   

For a writer, for me, there is no greater gift.  There are no rules at the Trelex Residency beyond those of civility and respect. Writers and artists are left to decide for themselves what interruptions they welcome, the level of social interaction they are comfortable with and the effort and time they want to put into their projects.   

I chose to divide my days up with writing, reading, walking and exploring a country rich in language, history and culture. Sometimes I didn’t leave my studio for days on end, other times I put my writing aside and lost myself in long walks and bike rides, train trips and ferry boats.   

On a few special occasions, I joined Nina’s family on weekend excursions to art galleries, chateaus and museums.   

This little corner of Switzerland is now in my heart and for that I’m thankful.   

But to be clear, The Trelex Residency is much more than a beautiful home in a lovely village. The Residency is the manifestation of Nina Rodin’s dream of creating a place where artists from around the world are able to work and to dream free of the restraints, both financial and personal familiar to so many creators. It’s a wonderful and generous gift that allowed me to turn an idea into a book, while making friends with artists from other corners of the globe.







Julie Burtinshaw

From Crimson Boner

28 Mar - 16 Apr 2018



The views near my home are stunning, the beach and the estuary.
The cost of living is such that I work and my husband works two jobs. We have two children and I spend my life juggling these commitments. I feel worried about money most days.

But, every day I walk across our beautiful bridge and allow myself a few minutes to enjoy the estuary. The mud is viscous and glossy, sometimes pricked by birds footprints; deep, tidy tridents in the gloop. 

The materiality of the mud gives me great pleasure. I love the huge swoop of sky above the river, reflected in the glass bridge.
It's a tidal river, so the view changes all day, every day.  It's my daily ritual; a moment of gratitude and of placing myself. I know many others who live here enjoy this too. 
This bridge is a stunning piece of design, engineering and collaboration. Time was needed for all aspects of its conception and construction and it is appreciated every day by so many.



I was taught at SOAS that the flint axe, was the first piece of art, that we know of. I was taught that Egyptian culture was rich in artefacts because of the material richness of the Nile and consequent wealth of the civilisation. That art preserved for posterity was funded and bought by those with the time and money to do so. That financial inequality and the story of power is reflected in the story of art, and as such, that much is lost. 
That art is an event; a ritual; a celebration. Art is a conduit and a vessel for ideas and practice, shaping and reflecting the community. Art is a conversation and artists need and long for community and discussion. 

Trelex gave me the time to reflect on my place in the world and the place of art in the world. Time to reflect on time. 

Trelex reminds me of working for Tom Morris, when he was Director of BAC. He knew that artists needed support and time; to play; to discuss; to innovate; to make mistakes and ultimately to make and develop work. He nurtured those processes and gave artists the time and space they needed. He created a dialogue between artists in different forums ('a Beer for an Idea') and got artists together to make unexpected work, e.g 'Jerry Springer The Opera'.

Trelex works on the same understanding, that artists may follow a thread intensively without knowing where it will lead. The process is to drift; to look; to read; to discuss; to make; to look again; to make mistakes; to make discoveries. And time and community are essential to the process. 
You do not need to state your intention or objective in order to be accepted. You just have to be an artist, to apply and turn-up. 

Cuts to arts funding sideline art in state schools. Artists, like everyone else, are coping with the pressures of meeting basic human needs. How can they make time to make work when they can barely afford to pay the rent and buy food? 

As artists, young and old, we internalise these negative cultural messages about art; is art unnecessary, frivolous, an indulgence. Or perhaps art is an elite practice for the few who are wealthy enough to be able to indulge.

As a mother of two, it is extremely difficult for me to take time to myself. Instead, I worry that I should be earning money; looking after my children; and cleaning my house. 
How do I justify pursuing a process with an outcome which is uncertain? 
To make art is to make mistakes; to follow whims; to have accidental successes; joy found in drifting, discovery and losses.
Trelex helped me to see that without the artistic process, I am not a well person. I am not a fully functioning person. I am also failing my community. 

What Nina has created is hugely generous and extraordinarily insightful. 
This is a residency open to all artists of all media and all levels of professionalism. Acknowledging that all artists start somewhere. That all of us share common needs and that success in art is not necessarily chronological.  That if you get a bunch of artists together, ideas will flourish. That artists are hugely influenced by each other. 
It is an egalitarian approach and sidesteps the entrenched elitism of academia and the art world; an elitism which protects assets, but does not necessarily benefit the artistic process.

I had very little belief in myself and my practice when I arrived at Trelex. But what I found there was a community; and time. I was gifted time. 
It was a shock at first, after 10 years of mothering. A real shock. To have time. To be important enough to be allowed time to myself. To drift. Not the usual dismiss and prioritisation of my thoughts, but just to observe them with curiosity and follow where theyed me. 

Nina has an incredible library and so I carried a sack of books around for the whole time I was there. My beautiful, single accommodation was just off the huge shared studio. So I made work whenever I wanted to, without having to fit it into an allotted time slot. It came when it was ready and I purged and painted and drew, without a schedule, but I worked every day.
I sat in the garden and drew. I made films. I listened to music. I danced. I ate. I cried. I took long showers.
I talked intensively to the two other artists on the residency. 
I listened to their processes and their obsessions and looked at their work. That was probably the most exciting time for me. I loved hearing about their fascinations and looking at their work. 
We shared stories, supported and nurtured each other. We each expressed the value of this community; this time to share, the importance of having others look at and discuss our work. 

I became alive again. I started to see paintings and images. 
They moved more quickly through my mind than I could capture them. Washes of colours ; big, sloshy, brushmarks; ironies; insights; coincidences. 
I began to see myself, my processes, my motivations, again. They weren't lost, they were thriving and wriggling and vital.It felt like just the beginning. 

Perhaps it is the beginning?
I hope that I can keep this feeling. This way of working. 
Can I justify putting time aside to make work, regardless of whether it sells or not. Regardless of its success and failure. 
To believe that unforeseen things will come if I invest time in the process.
I hope that I can keep in contact with those artists, to keep the dialogue going. 

Thank you to Nina, to Trelex. For understanding what an artist needs and for nurturing that and making it a reality. For accepting artists in all their guises. For allowing me to be part of it all. Me.
I have often felt  disenfranchised as a mother, not relevant. Not a part of the dialogue. Not  enough. 

On a personal level it has been a very special experience.
For Nina to open her family home to accomplish this is incredible. 

Nina I am humbled by your generosity ; grateful for your courage; in awe of your insight; and spurred on by your tenacity.
But in knowing you, I am not surprised that you have accomplished this.

Trelex in itself is a great leap of faith, a collaboration and a process that I am hugely grateful and proud to have been a part of.






From Michelle Loa Kum Cheung

02 Jan - 7 Mar 2018







This has been my second visit to Trélex, my first time here was one year ago almost to the day. The first stay was two and a half weeks, this time round has been two and a half months. I don’t want to talk a lot about my work and the relationship of my practice and the time spent here – in my last blog post I talked about the value of the freedom and access to play which in my “real” life is often drowned out, made methodical and suppressed. 

For this post, I want to talk about the experiences, conversations and foods that were brought to the residency table by the other people I met and lived with during my time here, each with individual practices, approaches to their art and to life in general. And whilst each of us had our own deadlines and goals during our time here, when we came together, went to shows, shared food or read tarot, I can’t express how amazing I found each of these artists. They are all female, all from different backgrounds and all with stories and views of the world which I found completely inspiring and intriguing. 

There is of course Nina Rodin, the Danish, supremely busy and methodical, permanent artist in residence who incredibly has had three solo shows during the past 2.5 months, in New York, Geneva and Maastricht! Feline Minne, a Belgian artist currently completing her PhD in London who I found incredibly intriguing and engaging, and for me becomes her art. Rachel Levitsy, an unfailingly generous and spirited poet from New York and her companion and partner in crime who channels his cuteness up through his ears. Min Kim, from South Korea and currently breaking trends and uprooting the regime whilst living in Amsterdam, even if she and they don’t realise it yet. Of course, Abi Box, who we all know and who maintains her art practice and the practices of so many people all the way across the pond in Bermuda! And special mention to Anaïs Rodin, my partner in cake, who may be the most incredible one of us all yet. 

I hope future artists will continue to find solace and inspiration in the landscape, time, air, silence and everything that the Trélex Residency has to offer. Artists may bring their own tools and weapon of choice for tackling their creativity, but for me it has been the people who I have found to be the biggest source of stimulation for my beliefs and way of thinking. It is a gross understatement to say that what the Trélex Residency and Nina Rodin offer is rewarding, fulfilling and invaluable. It is such a rare and special thing – for the Rodin family to open up their lives and routine to each passing creative in an incredibly generous way that cannot be measured. The studio here is a cocoon with conditions ready to incubate and gestate ideas, before releasing them back out into the world. It will have a lasting impact on my life as an artist and will no doubt do the same for all future artists, and make a world which seems strained against the threat of fracture closer and more interconnected, bit by bit. 

So after 2.5 months, 4 visual artists, 1 poet, 2 dogs and countless blocks of cheese, I will keep wishing I had just one more week here though I am off on another adventure and will hopefully return back to Trélex one day.

Michelle Loa Kum Cheung