Julie Pennington: artist-in-residence May 2016

Julie Pennington, Clay works, Gunyah 2016

The Gunyah Artist in Residence program gave me a wonderful opportunity to step aside from normal routines, and soak up the atmosphere of this very special place. Situated in a bush setting on the edge of the water, this beautiful house and studio was perfect for finding inspiration and contemplating new ideas.

Julie Pennington, A favourite spot - Gunyah jetty, 2016

I really enjoyed having the bush and the water at my doorstep. I was very lucky with the weather, the sun streaming through the trees and twinkling on the water almost every day. I loved starting and finishing my day down at the jetty, observing the change in the tide, finding something to collect, and photographing the trees and the water in changing light. It was this routine of a different sort that I enjoyed, it was a routine that allowed time to see things that at other times one might miss, or dismiss. Patterns in the water, shadows, silhouettes of trees against the sky, and time to just listen to sounds of the water, bird calls, rustling in the bush, and breeze in the trees.

Julie Pennington, Gunyah studio - growing collection, Gunyah 2016

It was very easy to stay put at Gunyah, but I spent some time exploring the area. Myall Lakes National Park, Tea Gardens, and the beautiful beaches of Hawks Nest. I always like to collect things when I go places, but collecting became quite a thing for me during this residency! I became very interested in arranging multiples of similar pieces. If the neighbours were watching me down at the jetty they must have wondered what I could possibly be finding each day! But this is what was so special about having days to oneself to explore.

Julie Pennington, Oyster shells - playing with clay, Gunyah 2016

The studio got filled with my collections, so together with the view through the trees, I felt surrounded by nature. I spent time drawing and making a few things in clay, trying different shapes and surface pattern ideas. Making small installations of pinch pots, and thinking about multiples of objects and how they relate to each other. This is an idea which I think I will definitely develop further now that I am back in my studio.

Julie Pennington, In the studio - clay forms, Gunyah 2016

I guess that is the nice thing about a residency such as Gunyah, you think you have an idea about how the environment will inspire you, but you never can tell what you will find and where it will take you!

Julie Pennington, Gunyah tress, 2016

Julie Pennington, May 2016