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

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