Chieko Hester immerses herself in Gisborne’s art scene

Chieko Hester. Photo: Luke Hemer

Japanese-born origamist Chieko Hester tells reporter Matt Crossman it wasn’t until she moved to Gisborne that she immersed herself in the art world.


How long have you been living in Gisborne and how did you come to the area?


I’ve been in Gisborne about 10 years. My husband was originally from here, so there was that family appeal. We moved from Sydney … I was born in Japan and came to Australia in 1993.


How have you found the town?


Initially it was a huge shock. Previously I was working in financial institutions in the big city, but when we moved I decided to stay with my two children [now 12 and 10]. That’s actually how I got into what I am doing at the moment [with my art].


Had you had much involvement in art before that time?


I had never thought of myself as an artistic person. I’ve always known I had an eye for colour, but really how I got started in art was because of the time I had when I had children. Also, I wanted to get involved in the community as well, and so I joined an art group. That was what pushed me forward.


You work with origami. Why did you choose that discipline?


I wanted to do something that stood out. It’s not something that many people can do. I try to stick with traditional origami, transforming paper into shapes and sculptures. I don’t like to cut or groove. Origami is really something that can be done with just a piece of paper. I use lots of nice, bright colours, which is really appealing to people. The feedback I get is that people feel it is something that is really original and interesting.


You’re involved in this year’s Macedon Ranges Arts Trail. What are your thoughts on the local arts scene?


There’s so much going on. I had friends who were part of the trail and then I met [founder] Nadine Hartnett, who explained it all to me. It was something that really interested me … I’ve found the trail is a great way to engage with other artists and people who are interested in art.


What do you like to do in your spare time? Are there places you like to go to for a family outing or bite to eat?


I love to eat and drink, so we often like to dine out. We especially like to go to Japanese restaurants and also wineries … I just love red wine.
A total of 24 artists and 17 galleries and businesses will be part of this year’s Macedon Ranges Arts Trail, which will include exhibitions, classes and awards. Brochures will be released early next month.

Details: 0439 399 838

Chieko Hester. Photo: Luke Hemer
Chieko Hester. Photo: Luke Hemer