From Aurelia Zephire

05 May - 06 Jun 2016 and 24 Jun - 30 Jul 2016

Trelex Residency is a sort of heaven for artists. Tucked under the eaves of an enormous ancient Swiss house, with plenty of light and space in the studio and on the surrounding grounds, complete freedom to explore new mediums or delve deeper into one’s work.

I highly recommend giving yourself enough time. At least one week to settle in and experiment: either with new tools or different approaches to your work. Nina and previous artists leave behind a wide range of tools/ supplies with which to play with, but be sure to bring along enough of your own supplies too as the Swiss art shops can leave you frustrated if you have a specific need or are working on a limited budget. You will need at minimum two additional weeks to do some work and a few days to wrap it all up. Of course, the dream is to spend the full 3 months in one go in order to delve deeply and start a solid body of work that way. Though I do find that I still feel full and continuing some of the streams of thought started there over a year ago!

The first month I was there I was able to begin and complete several of the projects I had started along with a brainstorm of new ideas. After a one month hiatus, I came back for a second month and completed a few more of the drawings and paintings I had started along with beginning a few more ideas to be completed later. The quiet countryside and plethora of reading materials in the studio rooms and library nourished another bout of brainstorming for future projects!

Although the end product, or body, of my work is often quite large, the pieces that go to make it can be folded up into a traveling case in order to be worked on in smaller spaces and while traveling, moving or in bed, since several health conditions often conspire to keep me there for extended periods of time. With a recently recovered bit of health, I challenged myself with Trelex...I had been yearning for a larger studio space in which to stretch out, move and involve my body more in the process and create larger single pieces. The time at Trelex Residency, Nina and her wonderful family, was an experience in my life which I will cherish for years...

From Aviva Shemesh

01.07.2016 - 30.07.2016

As soon as my friend artist, Rona Shahar, told me about the Trelex Residency, I was determined to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Contrary to other residencies, this one is based on a very laid back model that does not require filling in application forms nor pay amounts of money that artists usually are short of. All you need is to be committed once you have decided to attend.

I booked the residency almost a year in advance and the day to take the plane to Geneva has finally arrived. After a long journey from Tel Aviv I arrived in Nina’s big house in this small Swiss village – Trelex – being welcomed by Nina, her husband David, their three children and a cute jumpy dog. Then when I got to my room on the third floor I realized how generous was the gift I was offered: a huge house surrounded by vines and forest, forest fruit growing in the garden and ready to be picked up, bikes and a car available for use, hiking trails within a short train ride, a whole nice room for myself, shared studio space, kitchen and bathroom and the most beautiful view from each of the windows of the house.

In my work I mostly use watercolors to draw urban and rural landscapes, therefore all I have to carry around with me are my brushes and papers. However, the idea of having a studio of my own during my stay in Trelex was very appealing. For the first time, I had all my equipment laid on a table ready to use whenever I find the muse. Add to it the material that Nina makes available to artists in residence, and the ideas were just flowing with a desire to try different techniques. 

Everything in and around the house was inspiring: the backyard flowers; the Apricot tree near the main entrance, carrying spotless round yellow-orange Apricots ready to be picked up as I got in and out of the house; the red tile roofs seen from the kitchen window every morning, the typical architecture with the pointed church roofs and the Jura mountains in the horizon. 

Finally, Nina’s house is located just by the Trelex small train station that takes us to Nyon, the nearby town. From there one can take the train to different parts of Switzerland for a 1 or 2 day trip, visit museums, get additional ideas and topics for painting and just enjoy summer in Switzerland. 

The Trelex residency allowed me to just focus on my art for a whole month, which at home is impossible as I am tied up with other commitments. I am grateful for having had this opportunity.