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

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