From Montse Gallego

1st March - 2nd April 2019

I spent a month in Trelex Residency with the purpose of focusing in the two projects I am currently developing: the Floating Forest series of paintings and the reflection & writing of my own life. I couldn't have found a more perfect environment for that.

I was welcomed by another artist, who very kindly came to collect me from Nyon train station, and, since there was no one else in the house at that moment (Nina Rodin and her family were abroad), she showed me all the basics of the house and even cooked me dinner before she left quite late at night. I spent the first two nights and days on my own in the house of this family who I never had met before! This, the trust that is offered to the artist, is the core of the uniqueness of Trelex Residency. Nina's principles are based on that and she and her generous family offers you the opportunity to come and do what ever you need to do, without any constraints or commitments but the response to that in your own practice and reflections. This unique and nurtured nest easily responds in its natural way: synchronicity. Trelex functions without specific plans, the artists invited are not selected, they just came on their own time from the waiting list in which their names were written and it is precisely that what works with an incredible precision because what it is to happen, happens.

My experience was that my work was enriched with the meetings with the other artists thatby chance;were there. Starting with the artist with who I was sharing the studio, Eva, who wanted to record a series of monologues by women telling the stories of their motherhood. I am a mother of three and I was writing about my motherhood. We did the recording and the story I told was another story, spontaneous, magical, honest and powerful. But there were other two women artists staying in a temporary extension of the Trelex residency in a near by forest, Kate O and Kate P, both mothers too, with who we shared conversations about their own experiences as mothers and artists. Nina Rodin (also mother of three) was the nexus of all these encounters while she was doing her own practice and working on the final constructions of Trelex Esp'Asse Residency in Nyon, in which we also contributed with some hours of work dragged by her enthusiasm and contagious energy.

The hours of a day in Trelex were magically longer than anywhere else, so I had time enough to produce an important number of paintings and a good push on my writing. I also shot a series of very minimal films which I am currently editing with its own soundscapes plus the recording of my motherhood story that Eva recorded. 

Peace, silence, a wonderful landscape, walks along the fields, the Jura Forest, the snowed mountains and the pristine lake, made it possible. I also had time for a couple of visits to Geneva and Lausanne and the fantastic opportunity of interacting with children in the International School of Geneva, an invitation from the Art Teacher Lucy Shaw that Eva and myself attended and where we presented different forms of expression and realms to the kids.

I just have an immense sense of gratitude to Trelex Residency and its maker, Nina Rodin, whose generous attitude is an example to follow for all of us who try to live in the outskirts of a crazy society in a moral and ethical decay. 

From Kate Orme

1 - 25 March 2019

Angelot Residency

I arrived at the `Angelot’ Trelex residency with fellow artist Kate Pickin in early March 2019, having driven there from Yorkshire in a car full of equipment and clothes for every eventuality !! Angelot is a few kilometers away from the main Trelex residency, it is remote, quiet, peaceful and perfect, snuggled in at the base of the Jura mountains. The house sits at the edge of a meadow used by herds of wandering deer from time to time, enclosed by woodland, there are no roads just the sounds of wildlife and the stream at the side of the house, something that Kate and I really appreciated. We both needed a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, some serenity to think about and make art with no other distractions, a time for us both to do nothing but eat, drink and sleep art with permission. 

I had arrived with thoughts of a particular work in mind, but things rarely pan out as you imagine. Unexpected things, better things, happen when you have the space in which to think, so my work developed beyond my expectations, some is now to be a part of a group exhibition in Lisbon during August and September, other works have been left dangling in the trees around the farmhouse, both because I needed to try them there, and also as a gift for Pascale (the house owner), to find at her leisure.

A part of my work there was to consider Loss and Lucidity, I found that Grief insistently inserted itself into those considerations and in the end it became about trying to find some lucidity when grief as a result of loss is unendurable. I wrote phrases over and over again on sheets of tissue paper, delicate paper so friable that it hardly exists itself. After the first few lines of repetition the words began to lose their meaning, I questioned the spellings, the words didn’t look right. By the time I reached the bottom of the page the writing was gobbledeygook, it made no sense, the meaning was lost. In the effort to reinforce a message or a connection, that very effort destroyed it all. I covered each page with PVA glue which gave a translucency, and stuck two pages together so that you could see the writing on both sheets, one behind the other. Even the attempt to mend or recover things and glue them back together only resulted in a further clouding of vision. I have recently developed an interest in Palimpsests and this work also fits in with that interest, in what memory is left behind when something is scraped clean and re-used. 

We met Nina and the artists from the main residency several times and as usual we had some amazing discussions and shared insights. I value these meetings more than I can say, the broader outlooks from artists working in ways that are far from my own practice, their enthusiasms, their opinions, their knowledge and their friendship inspire me. I feel lucky to know them, and actually managed to persuade those I met this year to make a piece of work which was then included in my exhibition in May this year. I know that I will continue to connect with them. Thank you Nina and Trelex for making that possible. 

The Practicalities

Nina and Pascale have put together a very useful manual for Angelot, it explains everything you need to know.

Although the farmhouse is isolated Pascale left her car to be used if necessary and there is also an electric bicycle for the fitter ones amongst us. There are no shops in the immediate vicinity so some transport is needed. There are supermarkets near the main residence in Trelex but we tended to shop just over the border in france as it was much cheaper, and you can combine it with a sunday morning market and oyster festival if you get the dates right (win win !!).

Although there was snow on the ground when we arrived, the house was cosy with two log burners to keep us warm and a log pile which would have lasted us until summer. Take warm slippers for indoors as there is a no outdoor shoes indoors policy. The kitchen is brand new and very well equipped, and the views from the kitchen windows of the Alps and Mont Blanc turning pink in the evenings are sublime, the sight of them made my heart sing. In the lounge there is a very comfortable sofa, sometimes shared with Ghandi the cat (who will sit next to you and purr but doesn’t like to be stroked, if you’re tempted - wear oven gloves). There is a new and pristine oak floor in the lounge which doubles as studio space, so we took plastic sheeting to put down under the tables that we used as work desks so we felt less nervous about making a mess.The bedrooms were very spacious, and we only needed to put the bedroom heaters on once during our time there despite it being winter. Warm bedding and towels (and hot water bottles) were provided, you just wash them and leave them clean for the next residents. There was always plenty of hot water. 

There is no TV, which was no problem for us as we just talked and read. There is wi-fi, it’s good for emails but very slow if you need to stream or do heavy browsing, so if you need visual entertainment pre-download your device before you get there.

We found it easy living and soon got into a daily rhythm, the acid test is would I go back? and the answer is Yes, in a heartbeat. 

Thank you Pascale for your generosity of spirit, it is beyond measure and value. Your home nurtured us and gave us a peaceful space. It is almost impossible to express just how important Angelot has been to us and how much we appreciate it and you.

From Kate Pickin

1- 25 March 2019 
Angelot Residency

I am an Artist from Sheffield in the UK. My practice is mainly 2D, painting and printmaking using photography as source material. I am part of Trafalgar Studios, 40 plus creatives in a large ex industrial building in the heart of Sheffield.

I had some idea of what I wanted to work on before arriving at Angelot. But of course these things change when in the actual experience. I was working through a particularly difficult time for me, on a personal level, and knew it must manifest in a physical way, and I found myself working both with a minotaur figure and also a human figure, both of which I made while at Angelot.

The break away from my usual environment, in a context that was new and strange, helped to focus the mind on only what was necessary in order to make the new work.

The environment

The little house is snuggled in between a small stream (the Boiron) and a wooded area, with agricultural roads leading to villages and towns.

The wood was inspirational; I wondered through it at differing times; the light changing with the weather and time of day. The river that runs through the wood was clear and pure, running down from the towering mountains behind us. 
Kate Orme and myself settled into a daily rhythm of food, lighting fires, looking after the resident cat (Ghandi) and working at our tables in the main room. Several times we visited the Trelex residency artists in a neighbouring village. Many deep and inspiring conversations ensued, and our differences only added to the creative mix.
We met many people connected in diverse ways to the residencies and to the locality;  on the winter solstice a ritual event took place in the woods, with a fire master and gathering of interested folk. Stories and dreams were recounted and shared in an atmosphere of integrity and confidence. What a privilege to be invited to share in this.

Work made

I had taken fabrics and stuffing to construct a minotaur head and shoulders which I wanted to wear. The canvas was too fresh and white so the pieces were wetted in the river then trampled in the ashes from the fire, before roughly sewing the minotaur together. To wear this in the late evening out in nature felt liberating, fresh, and primeval.

As I walked through the wood one evening, scattering the white ashes from the fire, I noticed that it appeared very ghostly as it diffused into the air, so began to take pictures to capture this. These are now images that will form part of a body of work in the future, I use these pictures in my paintings, sometimes having held onto them and collected over many years, never really knowing when they might be integrated into a new work.

As we had limited resources it helped to focus the mind to what might be possible. I began to make monoprints, using black and white inks rolled onto a ceramic tile. These were Minotaurs and what I thought of as ‘Blinded Girl’.

I made larger paintings in watercolours of blinded girl and also a clown figure that has been dominant in my visual vocabulary for many years.
Using glue and paper held together with wires, a small female form started to take shape. She entered the river, and waited around in the house for opportunities to shine.
I have come away with two distinct bodies of work, (Minotaur/blinded girl) and an idea for three oil paintings of fantastical landscapes, with mists, water and mountainous views.
Both Kate and I are hoping to return to possibly take part in a local exhibition, which I hope will be realised.

From Dean Melbourne

14 - 21 Feb 2019 

Angelot Residency 

My time at Angelot was brief. One week. The aim to continue to recover emotionally, psychologically and physically from a period that had seen me at my lowest ebb as a man and an artist. 

What could one week do you ask?

For me, a person who has only once flown alone, and is not a frequent traveller beyond family holidays and who has only one previous residency experience (Trelex). One week contains an overwhelming number of small experiences that create a very special kind of change. 

So the benefits of the generosity of Pascale have started to play out long before even arriving at this beautiful little house. The gentle challenge of flying alone, navigating by train to Trelex and the prospect of meeting new people (something I think is no big deal for many) has the effect of reminding me that I am capable and my world is bigger than my home, studio, region, country. Just being away without my wife organising the boarding passes and passport etc reminds me that I am a person of my own. Frankly even booking the flights gave me a rush of hope. 

I had decided that I would not make work while in Angelot. My aims were reading, writing, looking, thinking. I did some of all of that of course but what I did most was just be. To be me for one week in this new place was a huge gift. The chance to get to know the me of now. As an artist and a man. 

So what was achieved. I gained a clarity about the next phase of my idea to become a mentor/coach/support for artists and creatives. A clarity that had eluded me in the fear and anxiety of home. 

Equally my inability to bring fresh mind to a collaborative project that I am working on eased and while sitting in the sunshine and breezing along on the Electric bike I found a new dialogue emerged. Hearing myself speak a little and terrible French even seemed to break the spell of repetition of thoughts and allowed myself to see potential for something new. 

I drew, small thumbnails of compositions of the surrounding landscape in anticipation of making paintings back in my studio for my “misremembered landscape” series. 

I took in the air and the colour and the birds. Most of all the birds. Nature marked out my week for me. 

Black Caps and blue tits in the tree outside the house. Sparrows and Robins bustling in the hedgerow just outside the French doors. The field fares, thrushes and starlings chattering in the field. The Honey Buzzard patrolling the perimeter. The young Jay in a tree above a bench and water trough. The Great Igret in the field that I caught a brief glimpse of from the car. The Heron catching a mouse in a field just outside Gingins. The Woodpeckers drilling and laughing all around and the hawk that landed in a verge next to the bike only to miss its quarry. Ghandi and the escaped mouse and the sound of horses on the lanes. And the Deer oh man the deer! 

This week was a gift and the effects will continue to unfold for a long time.

From Jana Charl

5 Dec 2018 - 3 Jan 2019

Time has been flying by since I attended the Trélex Residency! I arrived at the residency on December 5th, 2018, and departed on January 3rd, 2019. Although I had applied for 3 months, the 1 month that was available ended up being a perfect fit for me. I arrived prepared to paint (packed acrylics, brushes, and canvas) but explored the surrounding area first and collected items from nature as well as the recycling bin. The residency had a mix of different supplies which I also utilized for creating a site-specific kinetic installation “Parcoursvita”.

After living most of my life in Los Angeles, it was very inspiring to be in a small village with friendly people (I joked that I was always saying “Bon”- something… bonjour, bonne journée, bonsoir, bonne nuit) and living in an 18th century home. It was easy to be active by the riding the residency bike, going to yoga in the village, walking in the forest, and traveling by train to nearby cities.

Mai, the other artist who shared the space, and I got along great and spent time together talking, sharing ideas, and cooking. Another artist, Min, was a short-term guest while she prepared for an exhibition in Geneva. All of us got along great, including our host Nina! We are still in touch, months after the residency ended, and I truly believe that the bonds we built will be long-lasting.