My time at Trelex was so much more than I could of expected. It was my first artist residency and I was as equally apprehensive as I was excited. I tried not to have too many expectations for my time spent in the studio and whilst wanting to make the most of this gift, I also wanted to let things flow. As an artist that is always trying to balance other commitments and longing for uninterrupted time to play and explore this was an absolute blessing for me.
Nina and her family were friendly, accommodating and very relaxed. I felt very welcomed and comfortable setting up base and transforming the studio into a perfect working environment. As my residency was just under two months over the festive season, I knew I had time to explore and work solidly in the studio.
For the first week it was hard to start up my rusty train brain and I began with simple activities, collecting materials, painting forms, but also hugely procrastinating and being lazy which I think was a vital step before I could really get into a state of flow with my work. The time to research and read from Nina's extensive library was also a vital part of the process. I found this helped me to question my own work and where I wanted to go, what materials I could play with. I found staring out the windows with a fresh coffee always seemed to help. The sky and light in Switzerland is very special luminous, clear and fresh.
Nina was great at explaining what materials and items were available for use and generously let us use her car for short trips and for finding materials. She was also equally helpful through out my stay, suggesting new techniques, artists and inspirations, though busy with her own projects and travels, she always found time to check in and was genuinely excited when I set up my installation at the end of my residency.
Trelex itself is a sleepy small town with lots of character, the house has a beautiful vast garden and plenty of local walks and hikes. I quickly discovered on the coldest days, my favorite thing to do was to jump on the small train close to the house and travel up to the french boarder, stopping at smaller towns along the way, I have never seen such pure white snow and it felt like stepping out into a new world. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be during the summer months.
I also took several trips into Geneva, around the whole lake and even to Mont Blanc, these trips and landscapes were in a way as inspiring as my time spent working, to feel the sense of awe again, staring at a huge mountain was such a refreshing feeling, which gave me huge amounts of energy.
I found having my room so close to my studio spot gave me such a relaxed feeling, having the ease and freedom to work during the evening was great. The days were so beautiful I would often go for a local run or walk to start my day and then work all evening. Most days I would wake eager to get started and it was truly great to feel an uninterrupted enthusiasm again without concerning myself with any other outside distractions my days fell into a rhythm of simply, reading, researching, creating, walking and eating. It was a great recipe for me and my work. I slept soundly every single night.
I cant recommend this residency enough and will be ever thankful to Nina for her support to artists, generosity and openness. It is very rare to have and opportunity like this without the huge headache of a lengthy application process and it offers artist the most important thing… time. I returned to my studio in Berlin in January with lots of claret, eagerness to continue down new pathways and excited to play with more new ideas and materials. I cant wait to go back.