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

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