VWA Blog

VWA’s Artist in Residence Program

20 Nov 2021 Artist in Residence

Over the past year at the VWA we have seen some changes to the tenants that are part of our Artists in Residence program here at the Wood Design Centre in the Meat Markets.

Our long standing Artist in Residence, Chris Tomoya, recently finished up his tenancy with us after having joined back in 2015. Chris, who comes from a background in Architecture and the Exhibition Industry, first started his journey with us when he was only a few years into creating his new business practice. After working at a desk job for a couple of years, Chris started by making small joinery projects for family and friends. With each commission Chris received, the projects got bigger, and that’s when Chris decided to join our Artist in Residency program.

The low rent meant that I could focus on my creativity and develop my skills as a maker. I made some lifelong friends at the VWA and had some really great times collaborating with my peers.

Chris Tomoya

Over the years Chris spent his time designing, creating and making experimental joinery projects, and soon found himself designing and making for large retail environments and exhibition stand for niche brands like Four Pillar, Monster Threads, and most recently ‘Candied Bakery’ in Spotswood.

Chris has recently started a Youtube channel called ‘Furnitecture’ which aims to educate, entertain and inspire people to design and make their own joinery projects. You can head on over to check what he is currently working on and see in more detail the work he is designing and making below:

I look forward to seeing the next generation of makers who hone their craft in the program. The VWA tenancy program in the meat market basement is truly a unique and special experience that I recommend anyone considering pushing their career forward apply for a residency.

Chris Tomoya

Arthur Seigneur is another Designer Maker who took up a short term residency at the VWA during 2020 – 2021. Arthur, who works uniquely with the technique of Straw Marquetry, has now moved his flourishing practice out to the northern suburbs of Melbourne, to a studio in Coburg.

Arthur creates Bespoke one-off and limited edition works creating designs for private clients as well as collaborating with other designers including architects, interior designers, and product designers to produce tailored pieces and decorative panels.

Straw marquetry is the art of hand crafting decorative patterns from ribbon-thin, flattened slithers of rye straw which are imported in small batches directly from France. Each stem is individually dyed, opened and flattened into fine strips, which is then inlaid by hand, edge to edge on paper or wood until the entire surface is covered in a decorative pattern.

Since every single strand of straw is unique, each piece of furniture is true bespoke: no two are alike and each project is a one-off. With rye straw being a naturally complex material, it reflects light and colour in a truly unique way.

To find out more about Arthur Seigneur’s practice with straw marquetry you can follow him on instagram or view his website below:


With the vacancies in the Artist in Residence program, our School of Woodcraft tutor Isabel took the opportunity to join us as a tenant in the workshop.

Isabel Avendano Hazbun is a Designer Maker producing works in timber and fibre. In her own practice, which is driven by experimentation, she is interested in intersecting these two mediums in new and stimulating ways, resulting in 3D objects that may or may not have a practical function.

At the School of Woodcraft, Isabel not only wants to help her students to design and make a piece of furniture from start to finish but also to grasp the idiosyncrasies of working with timber. And through this process and experience of making, instill the value and worth of the hand-made object.

We’re thrilled to have Isabel join as in this program, and we look forward to seeing more of her work throughout her residency at the VWA.

To find out more about Isabel Avendano Hazbun you can follow her on instagram or view the website below:

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Victorian Woodworkers Association (VWA)
Postal Address

42 Courtney St,
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
03 5776 2178

VWA Wood Design Centre and Workshop

5 Tyrone St,
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
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