Residency report: Melissa Jean Harvey and Charmian Watts

The October 2019 Gunyah residency became a collaborative project between Melissa Jean Harvey a contemporary artist and Charmian Watts a designer/maker.

Charmian Watts and Melissa Jean Harvey at Gunyah

Every morning we would take a walk into the surrounding forest collecting pieces and objects, and taking photos while discussing our ideas. Here are some of the gems we collected.

Mel started playing with placing her medium recycled pulped cotton fabric within the surrounding environment.

Charm got to making tools for printing ink onto fabric and looking at the found branches in regards to transforming/making objects. 

We made a body of work that we call our 'Queer Forest Creatures’. Here are a few images of the many creations we collaborated on. They are just the beginning and will continue to develop.

Melissa Jean Harvey and Charmian Watts
Gunyah artist-in-residence report
October 2019 

Calling for 2020 Gunyah residency applications

Applications for the 2020 Gunyah artists-in-residence program are now open!

Gunyah AIR provides low cost self-contained accommodation for solo, collaboration, group and family short term creative residencies for visual artists, writers, composers, designers, curators, new media and performance artists. The 2020 residency program will run from May to November, with seven residencies each lasting ten days, Monday to the following Friday week: May 4 - 15, June 15 - 26, July 20 - 31, August 3 - 14, September 7 - 18, October 19 - 30, November 9 - 20.

If you would like to apply, please first read ABOUT GUNYAH AIR and then fill in the ONLINE FORM - you will need to include your contact details, preferred dates, bio and artist statement, a short description of what you plan to do during your residency and three images per artist. If you have any questions please email

Applications for the 2020 program close 11pm, Saturday 30th November 2019. 

Please note the 2020 residency fees are $410 for ten days or part thereof (this residency fee covers the use of the whole property, it does not apply per person). A refundable $50 key deposit is required. Artists are welcome to bring their families and friends. You will need your own vehicle to access Gunyah and North Arm Cove, as there is no public transport in the area.


Gunyah is a unique timber pole house, designed and built in the early 1980s by a group of friends as a fun weekend project and holiday house. This group still own, manage and maintain the property; and their 
families and friends continue to enjoy holidays at Gunyah. This three bedroom house is located the village of North Arm Cove, in the NSW Great Lakes region. Overlooking the waterways of Port Stephens, Gunyah offers an idyllic retreat to produce artwork or pursue creative research. 

The term 'gunyah' means resting place or place of shelter in the Gathang language of the Worimi people of the North Arm Cove area, and the term also features in a number of other Indigenous languages in NSW. Gunyah artists-in-residence program acknowledges and pays respect to the Worimi people - the traditional custodians of this land - to their elders past, present and emerging, it is on their ancestral lands that the Gunyah artist-in-residence program is located.

Gunyah AIR program has been running since 2011, it provides low cost accommodation for short term self-directed residencies for solo, collaborative, family and group projects and is open to applications from visual artists, writers, curators, composers, musicians, performers, designers, arts administrators, new media artists and other creators. Gunyah AIR program is volunteer based, not for profit venture, aiming to share the unique and beautiful region of Port Stephens.

Melissa Harvey: upcoming artist-in-residence

Melissa Harvey creating a cotton pulp wall installation at Sydney College of the Arts

Melissa Harvey is a Sydney based artist who predominantly works with cotton pulp sprayed onto wall surfaces and silk screens to create site specific installations and large scale sculptural paper works. The textural residue of surfaces and spaces that Melissa inhabits evoke a sense of place. Her experiences of the materiality of places informs her practice, such as different urban visual and textural surfaces of concrete, bitumen, rubble, sand and cement of the city skin. With contrasting tones, Melissa also conjures the sparkling effect of sunlight or night-lights on water. Her works have an immersive soft, textured, layered surface. The pulp material is made from recycled cotton clothing and domestic cloth, which is developed through a process of tearing and cutting fabric, then crushing down the cloth in a beating machine. The final process of spraying the pulp forms an open-ended space for thought and memory. Melissa recently completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and was a finalist in the Fremantle Print Prize.

Melissa Harvey, Dark Matter, 2017, recycled cotton pulp and ink on paper

I have recently begun a new body of work, collecting textures from bushland surrounding Sydney. During my residency at Gunyah I plan to expand on these investigations documenting bushland textures via photographs, drawings and rubbings. I am also interested in how the light changes throughout the day and reflects off surfaces. I will be writing a response to each texture discovered in the moment of the experience, as a record of my emotional response to reflect on later in my studio practice.

Melissa Harvey, The Haptic, 2016, recycled cotton pulp and ink on canvas and wall

You can see more of Melissa's work at