From Hira Mansur after her residency

25.03.2012 - 21.04.2012

The Trelex Residency was my very first residency. It is a great residency for plenty of reasons. To begin with, the residency is in the attic of Nina’s house. I know, horror movies have created a very scary/uncomfortable image of attics in our minds. But trust me, this attic is 180 degrees different. The fact that the residency is at the top of the house, makes it a warm, welcoming, yet a very professional space. 

The common space is very spacious and open but if needed, one can have complete privacy as well. The rooms are very comfortable and the studios felt spacious but then I'm a miniature painter! The best part about my studio was, that there was a lot of natural light and a window that opened into a view that I had only seen on postcards and calendars. There is a fair chance you might see cows grazing with their bells tinkling - extremely soothing!

It is very important that the artists paired together must get along well. In my case Nina was very successful. Joana and I immediately clicked. Our subject matter was also similar. I consider my self luckier because Joana was good at research and planning our day trips really well.  As a reward I cooked. I learned a lot in and out of the studio.

All the museums very incredibly educating but the highlight for me was the Swiss Sewing Machine Museum in Fribourg (because I paint sewing machines), which without exaggeration was a Disneyland of sewing machines (click here for website). I was thrilled to see more than 250 sewing machines under one roof, starting from the very first sewing machine in the world to sewing machines for children.

The days we did not go out of Trelex, we took long walks in the neighborhood/woods and also cycled. There is a beautiful lake not far from the residency. During one of these walks I saw horses and grabbed the opportunity to photograph them so I can use them as references in my work.

When you spend so much time in the residency, it starts feeling like one big family. Nina’s kids are adorable; we got to spend time with them as well. One of the nights, we all watched Ice Age 3, tucked in a duvet - cozy and relaxing.  We often cooked and had meals together. Nina also invited her friends over for a coffee morning, when Joana and I did an informal presentation of our work. The feedback was very beneficial.

Switzerland is very expensive: everyone says it and guess what, it's true. The trains, food – everything! It is essential to plan your days in other cities properly, so you can make the most out of it.

For grocery-shopping Nina took us with her when she went to shop for her family. Not just that, Nina was generally very kind and extremely generous in terms of helping and using the facilities in the studio. There is no pressure about making or finishing work. We were given complete freedom!

Switzerland in 3 words for me: Chocolate, Cheese and Coffee!

I would highly recommend this residency: it will be a great experience in every way possible. Take my word for it!

All the best!!

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