Rebecca Waterstone: artist-in-residence Nov 2016

Rebecca Waterstone working in the Gunyah studio, Nov 2016

"As I come to the end of my time here, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to step out of the busy-ness of daily life, to have quiet time, and a natural, nurturing environment to think and work in. The experience has supported and enlivened my artistic practice, as well as given me some much-needed respite. 

Rebecca Waterstone working in the Gunyah studio, Nov 2016

I have found the experience particularly valuable in terms of consolidating ideas that have been floating around for a while – the quiet space, without distractions, or pressure to produce – has allowed a clarity of thinking that has not been possible in normal daily life.

Rebecca Waterstone, Working in progress i, Gunyah 2016 

There was plenty of messing about with new media, thinking, and doing my best to remember 'failure' is just a part of the process and is actually very helpful!

Rebecca Waterstone, Working in progress ii, Gunyah 2016

I have particularly benefited from the chance to resolve ideas for a few exhibitions next year, and to outline plans for these.

Rebecca Waterstone, Works in progress in the Gunyah studio, Nov 2016

Gunyah is a wonderful place and I highly recommend it to all creative people in need of space and time to work."

Rebecca Waterstone
Gunyah residency report
November 2016

Applications Open for 2017 Gunyah AIR program

Visual artists, writers, composers, performance artists, curators, new media, designers, arts administrators and other creators are welcome to apply for solo, collaborative, family and group residencies. The 2017 Gunyah AIR program will run from May to November, with seven residencies, each for eleven days.

Applications will be accepted up until 5pm 30 November 2016. 

Please read "About Gunyah" before applying. Note there is a residency fee of $360 (for eleven days or part thereof) and a $50 key deposit. You'll need your own vehicle to access the North Arm Cove area and Gunyah. 

To apply: download the Gunyah AIR application form -DOWNLOAD HERE- just fill it out then email with three images to 

If you have questions about the application process or if you have trouble downloading the application form please email

Lesa Hepburn: artist-in-residence Sept 2016

Lesa Hepburn, Working in my journal under a work in progress on the Gunyah shore

"Fossicking for fungi, drawing with pigments from eucalypt resin and sitting each evening with a warm glowing fire and reviewing my images of the day. These are some of the deep impressions left with me after my residency at Gunyah. I got back into making simple marks on my papers, bringing a supply of my handmade cotton rag paper and experimenting with found pigments and implements.

Lesa Hepburn, Black ink and tree pigment drawing on cotton rag paper. Gunyah 2016

Over the two weeks, Gunyah, North Arm Cove and Port Stephens gradually unfolded all their offerings as I became more aware of feathers, flowers, fibres and fishing. I investigated “a line in the water” from the jetty, on the shore and from our little Heron dinghy as we sailed from North Arm Cove towards Lemon Tree Passage. We watched dolphins in the evening, small stingrays at the beach and wallabies in the Gunyah Garden.  Some mild fishing success brought us face to face with unusual creatures.

Lesa Hepburn, A line in the water - Heros Bay, 2016

I spent much time each day and evening continuing my string making (video) and taking full advantage of the varied lights, textures and colours of gunyah and surrounds. Seeing my string sculpture in different ways each day has been most fulfilling.

Lesa Hepburn, Conversation in progress, Gunyah 2016

I made new papers, new string works and combined these in and around some of my favourite trees including the casuarinas on the Gunyah shoreline, where I also took time just to sit and absorb the surrounds and record some of these feelings in my journals.

Lesa Hepburn, New works in progress, Gunyah 2016

I have returned home with new visions, new techniques and materials and a refreshed appreciation of the natural environment and our interactions both at Gunyah and at home in Scarborough. I had time to refine my works and to become more precise with some of the ideas and forms that have been on my mind for a long while."

Lesa Hepburn 
Gunyah residency report
September 2016

Rebecca Waterstone: upcoming artist-in-residence

 Rebecca with her beeswax and oil works at her 2016 exhibition ‘Ethereal’, in Sydney.

Rebecca Waterstone is an artist and teacher currently based in the Blue Mountains. She has recently returned to Australia from Scotland where she taught, ran a gallery on the Isle of Skye and was Vice Chair of the Board of ATLAS, a contemporary art organisation on Skye supporting artists to make extraordinary ideas happen in the landscape. Rebecca is currently studying Masters of Art by coursework at UNSW Art and Design and was a finalist in the 2016 Tim Olsen Prize for Drawing.

Rebecca Waterstone, mixed media drawings in embroidery hoops

Rebecca's work makes connections between dualities of place both physical and imagined. Exploring location, distillation, edges and colour, she works across drawing, painting, photography, with wax, film, sound and scent. She seeks to draw attention to opacity and translucency, absorbed and reflected light that can be contained within the surface of the picture plane. Layers of veiled, minimal imagery creates a tension between obfuscation, containment and revealing of information. Veils of colour and topographical mark-making sit below the surface. Rebecca's works seek to resonate with the viewer and evoke a concentrated sense of experience.

Rebecca Waterstone, The Lost and Found, cast beeswax and oil paint with eucalyptus oil,
with Camden Cooperative NSW butterbox lid found in Scotland

During my residency, I plan to explore the area, ‘tap into’ and also re-connect with the essence of the location. My work is concerned with a deep sense of place, and having spent all my childhood holidays in Port Stephens, I have a strong connection here and it has special significance for me. I'm looking forward to delving into the area again and discovering how how this will evidence itself in my work. I plan to gather visual, geographical, topographical, elemental and weather-specific information focusing on materiality as a metaphor for experience of a place. The change of environment will give me a fresh perspective, responding to locations that are on the edge of coasts or mountains, and having recently returned to Australia from Skye, the idea of the ‘antipode’ resonates strongly - as Scotland and NSW are diametrically opposite points, connected by a straight line through the centre of the Earth.

Bridget Kennedy: artist-in-residence August 2016

My time spent at Gunyah was an opportunity to sync back into my natural life rhythm. Without the daily demands of a family and gallery business, or the distractions of city life, I found myself early to bed, early to wake, without the need to eat until lunch time, no desire for alcohol or sugar.

Bridget Kennedy, Gunyah jetty
The location gave me the space to spread out creatively, both mentally and physically, with working areas for specific projects spread throughout the house. I was able to freely move from one project to another as my mood  directed. It was a rare moment of time to fully focus on my practice and the process of creativity. I found the time to submit an exhibition proposal to a gallery in Victoria, finished the next step of my ‘choice mate’ project, commenced a new body of work, caught up on reading and took the first steps to curating a group exhibition. 

Bridget Kennedy, work in progress, Gunyah 2016
When I recall my time at North Arm Cove I think of the ‘ghost roads’….the memory of driving slowly along a road that existed on maps, but that led directly into mangrove swamps, the formal grid like imprints on the bush landscape with their suburban streets, circuits and parades, echoing the past ideas of Walter Burley Griffin and his plan for North Arm Cove as the possibility for the Nation’s Capital.

Bridget Kennedy, work in progress, Gunyah 2016
Bridget Kennedy
Gunyah residency report, August 2016

Lesa Hepburn: upcoming artist-in-residence

Lesa Hepburn

Lesa Hepburn is a botanical fibre artist, based in Scarborough, Queensland. Working with handmade paper and plant fibres, she makes installations, prints and architectural commissions. Lesa has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Queensland College of Art, over the past ten years she has exhibited widely throughout north-eastern Australia. Lesa's work is informed by her life traveling and living in the tropics. She was born in Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaya and grew up in Sarawak immersed in a world of jungles, Dayak handcrafts, tropic shores, Super 8 home movies, markets and frequent travel by ship and plane to and from Australia. 

Lesa Hepburn, Purely Bast, 2016, hibiscus timber and letterpress on hibiscus bast fibre 

Lesa’s interest in local materials, foraging, making do and sustainability is reflected in the way that she embraces naturally available plant fibres, low energy processing and hand working techniques. The plants that inhabit the sub-tropical coast, where Lesa lives, form the core element of her work as a botanical fibre artist. Lesa has developed techniques preparing fibres and carving timber from the Beach Cottonwood (hibiscus tiliaceous) - a widespread littoral species in the western pacific and south east Asia. She twines the fibres with fine wire to create expandable and scalable sculptures. Lesa also works in print with letterpress, blind embossing, hikikakegami (a Japanese fibre printing technique), digital print media, and using hibiscus fibres twined into string to create embossing  impressions on handmade paper. 

Lesa Hepburn, Recoil 1, 2016, hand coloured blind embossing on handmade cotton paper

During my residency at Gunyah I plan to watch the water change with tides and weather, sail in our small boat and begin new works. The phrase “a line in the water” has recently been circling in my thoughts as I prepare for the visit. I hope to explore the natural areas on the water and the land in the North Arm Cove and Port Stephens using my handmade string and found objects.

To see more of Lesa's work please go to her website

Lesa Hepburn, Blue line, 2015, hikikakegami print kenaf on watermarked banana fibre paper