Keiko Matsui: Gunyah artist-in-residence February 2012

I stayed at Gunyah for a week in February 2012. I am a ceramic artist and normally work on a potter’s wheel with porcelain clay. Although I enjoy clay, I sometimes use different mediums to experiment and understand forms and textures that are important for exploring ceramics. The original proposal for my residency was to create vessels from fabric, tweed, and paper. However, I decided to focus only on paper this time. 

Keiko Matsui, Gunyah paper container, 2012

Making containers from paper was a lot easier and fun to play with. You don’t need to wait for the clay to be dry, no finger marks on the surface, no cracks, and no sagging. The angle of the cut changes the form, and how you connect parts is a key. It is almost like a combination of pattern making and origami.

Keiko Matsui, Scar vessels, 2011, porcelain 

The above image is my scar jug and scar cup. I call the seam “scar” as it resembles a human scar. When I make them, I use a potter’s wheel to create a cylinder form first, then cut the rim and put the cut parts together with slurry, leaving the slurry as it pushes out. The amount of slurry and varying strength I use when joining the parts changes the line of the seam. I like the combination of controlled form by wheel and uncontrolled slurry seam.

Keiko Matsui, Gunyah studio, 2012

When making vessels from paper, I realized that there are many new options for my work. Mixing slab work together with my existing wheel forms will enrich my work. Working with paper, from a flat paper to a 3D object, helps me to understand shapes and space. Obviously working with clay slab you need extra care - no air bubbles inside the clay, consistent thickness, and you need to know when to bend the slab.

Keiko Matsui, Gunyah paper vessels, 2012 

Keiko Matsui, Gunyah studio and drawings, 2012

Another exercise I did was drawing. Working on 2D from 3D stimulates my brain! I changed the angle of the paper vessels I made and drew them in order to observe their forms. 

Keiko Matsui, Gunyah paper vessels, 2012

Without distraction you could do many things even within a week. It rained almost every day during my stay, however it made a good atmosphere while working indoors. The Gunyah studio is located at the lower level of the house and faces the water.  As I cannot work with any noise, it was such a treat for me to enjoy the silence with the water view.  I would not have known this hidden place if I did not do this residency. Thank you Kath Fries and all the members of Gunyah.

Keiko Matsui, February 2012

Keiko Matsui, Working in the Gunyah studio, 2012

To see more of Keiko's work visit her website 

Stevi Cannon, Jen Denzin, Penny Dunstan and Alison Smith: upcoming artists-in-residence

Stevi Cannon, Jen Denzin, Penny Dunstan and Alison Smith all studied Fine Art together at the Newcastle Art School in 2010. They remain connected through a fortnightly studio day, which allows them to share ideas and critique each others ongoing work, as well as creating group exhibition opportunities. In the last twelve months since graduating, they have collectively participated in 21 solo, duo and group exhibitions held in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, and are also actively involved in Newcastle artist run initiatives as curators and directors.

We see the North Arm Cove residency as a unique conduit for an extension of our fortnightly studio days. While our practices vary enormously across sculpture, photomedia, printmaking and painting, the discipline of drawing is a common thread that informs all of our work. The Gunyah Residency would offer a space where we can focus on drawing, working both together and individually, as well as planning for 2012 exhibitions, exploring curatorial ideas and educational research. The chance for an uninterrupted week of art is a rare opportunity for us, as we all work very hard to combine art with other paid work, as well as family and community commitments.

Jen Denzin, Dear Henry, wish you were here... Liza, (detail), 2010,
mixed media installation, Shopfront Gallery, Newcastle, 200 x 300 cm

JEN DENZIN’s work is a navigation of the silence in Australia’s early history regarding Chinese migrants. She uses casting, carving, cutting, moulding and installation as investigative strategies to tell ‘spatial stories’. She enjoys working with challenging materials including plastic buckets, cork laminate and corflute sheeting. Such materials are aesthetically significant as they characterize long established and informative Sino-Australian exchanges, trade and tourism. Gaudy resin mementos, mountains of plastic containers, cork reliefs and paper cuts represent the many varied connections and collaborations between Australia and China from the mid-nineteenth Century to now. For the past twelve months Jen has been a co-director of Newcastle’s PODspace Gallery.
View the PODspace gallery blog at

Stevi Cannon, Left: Wind Shear, 2011, blackbutt, silky oak, red cedar, copper rove and nail, epoxy resin
Wood produces Fires, but destroys Earth, 2011, pine and pva adhesive

STEVI CANNON is an artist and graphic designer living in Wyong, Australia. Stevi graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art with distinction in 2010, and has since participated in numerous group shows, including as part of a duo with printmaker Alison Smith at the John Paynter Gallery in Newcastle, 2010. She was a recipient of a Grant Scholarship in 2009, and a finalist in the Kooindah Acquisitive Sculpture Prize in 2011. Her recycled timber sculptures express a poetic engagement with the Australian landscape. Investigating the innate properties and character of wood in the experimental forms that occur under her own actions — forms of joining, support and tension.
View more of Stevi's work at
Alison Smith, Urban Drift III, 2011, (diptych), 6 colour wood cut, edition of 3, 60 x 160 cm

ALISON SMITH’s medium of choice is the woodcut. She likes the challenge of the reductive process, the physicality of carving and the textural surface quality that comes from the grain of the blocks and the dense layering of ink. Recent work explores the linear elements of built structures, taking inspiration from the transformation of her local urban landscape. Smith has exhibited in 8 group exhibitions during 2011, and one duo show with Stevi Cannon. She was a Highly Commended finalist in this year’s Port Jackson Press Graduate Printmaking Award. She is co-curator of the ARI Shopfront Gallery in Newcastle and works as the Assistant Curator of the University Gallery, the University of Newcastle.
View more of Alison's work at

Penny Dunstan, Ghost 3, 2009, digital print, 90 x 110 cm

PENNY DUNSTAN works at the intersection of photography, drawing and installation. Her formal studies at the University of Newcastle in 2012 will involve interdisciplinary research into photography, permaculture theory and agricultural politics with specific interest in water politics. Dunstan has contributed to 6 exhibitions in 2011 including a solo show entitled We who are many exploring notions of community interdependence using photographic images printed on recycled Hymn book paper. She also studies painting as a discipline of seeing in order to construct better photographic images. Dunstan has been a volunteer at Newcastle Art Space, Newcastle University Gallery and Front Room Gallery.
View more of Penny's work at