Britta Stenmanns: artist-in-residence July 2011

Britta's family take the Gunyah dingy out on the water,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

The love and thought put into building Gunyah by people who cared is so evident. I just loved it and so did the rest of the family - what a bliss that there is no TV.

The Gunyah dingy and seat by the water,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011 

Gunyah as a house and its surrounding native vegetation close to the waters edge has a sense of the calmness. The building's unity with the environment creates within you a sort of belonging that is perfect for focussing and immersing yourself in a project.

View from the Gunyah bay window,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

We did some great bushwalks and learnt some interesting things about the area's incredible vegetation and tribal history. We decided to leave some of our handmade pottery cups for other artists to use at Gunyah, two blue glazed and two wood-fired ones of Simon's.

Britta's family on a bushwalk,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

I had a daily ritual with brisk bushwalks in the morning searching for certain areas in the surrounding bush for branches of charcoaled trees to work with. During daylight I worked close to the house and by nightfall I moved into the studio space. The place gave me a slightly different approach and motivation on my project and new avenues to follow up in the future.

Britta's painting materials in the Gunyah studio space,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

My time as artist-in-residence at Gunyah was of immense value and gave me the perfect opportunity to gather myself and to get focussed in a pure undisrupted way, a luxury in nowadays-busy lifestyle.

Britta Stenmanns, artist-in-residence July 2011

Looking at a wallaby from the Gunyah balcony,
photo by Britta Stenmanns

Close-up of the wallaby and joey, viewed from the Gunyah balcony
photo by Britta Stenmanns

To see Britta Stenmanns' residency proposal please follow this link and for more information and images of her work please see

Sue Saxon: upcoming artist-in-residence

Sue Saxon's twenty year painting and installation practice has included an eight month field trip across Australia and residencies in Budapest, New York and Paris. She's charted the emotional and physical geographies of memory; drawing on popular culture, philosophical texts and the elemental, symbolic and sensuous qualities of materials such as paprika, salt, flour, tears and eggshells. Sue's critical engagement with her own history and a desire to rupture the status quo combines to infuse her work with multiple layers of metaphor and meaning.

Sue Saxon, Sarah and Hagar, emu eggshells on paper

I am currently engaged in an eggshell mosaic and sculpture project which playfully conflates the conventions and tropes of birdwatching, or “twitching”, with the processes of ordering and stereotyping. I'm gathering visual, scientific and aural information about the habits of the coastal avian community to consider the ways we stereotype the human members of our community. The final two and three dimensional works will depict profiles of beaks and noses, silhouettes and birding paraphernalia. They will reflect on the reasons and consequences of using stereotypes to help order our world. For example, the compulsive repetition of stereotypes can reveal a dominant group’s anxieties and instabilities, as it does its power to control the social world. Stereotypes ‘explain’ real or imaginary differences, contribute to group bonding and enhance the power holder’s self esteem, serving as a tool of border keeping and maintenance of the political, social and economic status quo.

Sue Saxon, Facing the Other II, chicken eggshells on paper

While my project may appear whimsical, it’s armed with serious intent! It continues my interest in the processes of stereotyping and its role in the construction of `Otherness’. During my Gunyah residency I will draw, photograph and record birdlife in the Port Stephens district and assist in developing my project’s themes.

(Sue Saxon, July 2011)

Sue Saxon, Facing the Other I, chicken eggshells on paper

For more information and images of Sue Saxon's artwork please visit

Kurt Sorensen: artist-in-residence June 2011

I have always wanted to create a series of photographs depicting the maritime stories surrounding the area from Newcastle to Port Stephens, and in particular the islands just of the coast. Gunyah offered me the perfect opportunity to begin this work.

Looking out to the water from the Gunyah kitchen, photo by Kath Fries

The house set on the water at North Arm Cove is a wonderful place to visit. My wife and I enjoyed cooking in the spacious kitchen, sitting by the open fire and looking out over the water views. The setting allowed me time to further research the events and areas that I wanted to photograph.  It was so inspiring that the amount of opportunities to create work out weighed the time I was there ten fold.

Gunyah is a wonderful place and I hope it continues to give artists of all disciplines the opportunity to create work in a beautiful, inspiring setting. I certainly hope to be back!

Kurt Sorensen 
artist-in-residence June 2011

To see Kurt Sorensen’s residency proposal please follow this link and for more information and images of his work please see