Residency report: Melinda Young


Melinda Young, Work in progress, Gunyah studio, March 2021

Ten days of immersive fieldwork at Gunyah was a gift. I am so grateful for the opportunity afforded by this time and space to make, write, reflect and spend time with my family. 


My time at Gunyah was used as an opportunity to further investigate the agency of water as a collaborator and muse for making as well as an opportunity to explore and develop my enquiries into the line. I arrived with some vague ideas and a well-stocked kit of paper, watercolour paints, some basic tools, metal shim, a bag containing my favourite balls of string, curiosity and openness. 


The residency commenced with some awkward attempts to harness the tea-brown colour of the Cove water and pushed the notion of making-in-place to making-in-water:

Melinda Young, Making-in-water experiments, Gunyah March 2021

These strange experiments involving knotting and tying watercolour paper to the wharf were kindly documented by Emily McCulloch-Childs, (who joined me for the first two days of the residency). These experiments were swiftly aborted after one too many mouthfuls of post-storm Cove water. 


The ensuing ten days saw the development of a suite of materials-based research and the ultimate creation of two series of speculative vessels that speak to the textural qualities of wood of the house and its surrounds and the expanse of water. 

Melinda Young, Process images sketched line experiments: watercolour pencil, 

300gsm watercolour paper. Gunyah, March 2021

Melinda Young, Process images - rust lines: watercolour pencil, 638gsm watercolour paper, 

ferrous powder, ink, water, linen thread. Gunyah, March 2021

The bookshelf at Gunyah provided much in the way of stimulating reading, I particularly enjoyed the 1942 edition of A Manual of Drawing Trees and Foliage by L.A. Doust. Which contained not only useful instruction, but also sage advice to be ‘reckless of failure’.

This making, influenced by the wood and the trees was accompanied and informed by line and mark-making exercises on watercolour paper and metal. These followed my own idiosyncratic mark-making tendencies, and firmly under the spell of the log cladding of the Gunyah house and Doust’s instruction, I completed a stack of small experimental drawings and paintings along with some experimental wearables and vessels.

Melinda Young, Process images - tree lines: copper, watercolour paint, 300gsm watercolour paper, driftwood, linen thread, wire, ferrous powder. Gunyah, March 2021

My compulsive beachcombing led to the incorporation of some interesting driftwood washed up shoreline being included in the final groups of objects and wearables. These works speak back to Tim Ingold’s writing on the line (Lines, 2007 & Making – Anthropology, Archaeology, Art & Architecture, 2013) which I have been re-reading as a way of contextualising and moving forward with my PhD work.

The water and the wharf also captivated me. From the sheer joy of watching my son catch his first fish to listening to the ever-present lapping of the water, I found myself entranced. The ripples on the water, the shifting light across the duration of the days from sunshine to lightning flashes from imminent storms, and the weathered posts of the wharf standing firm against it all. A second series of works, again small paintings drawings and vessels attempted to capture the transient magic of the Cove.

Melinda Young, Process images - water lines: aluminium, watercolour paint, gesso, 

300gsm watercolour paper, driftwood, linen thread. Gunyah, March 2021

Thank you Gunyah, this experience was a magical time for my family and I. My partner and son spent a beautiful week fishing, kayaking and bushwalking together whilst I worked and the evenings saw us spend treasured time together as a family.

Melinda Young


Gunyah resideny report March 2021

Melinda Young, Work in progress, Studio, Gunyah March 2021