Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Encaustic incense stick play

Every now and again I get this little moment of inspiration that suggests I try some things; and this moment brought together several of the things on my current favourites list.

I started out using incense sticks to burn away letters in book pages and the notes in music scores. I really liked the look. Every since we had a play day with Noela I have been burning incense sticks and using them to create holes in just about anything. Yesterday a piece just kept on burning so I threw it outside in the rain and it stopped, I did some more and had to 'apply rain' again and so on; but I got some wonderful effects...more another time.

Whilst I liked the look of the burnt pages, I wanted to add some depth, and wrote a few words on the page, then covered it with some beautiful thin paper that I had rusted and then encaustic-ed over.

So a list of my current favourites includes: rust, encaustic, words and incense stick holes!

Not quite sure where they're headed...

 Home is where the story begins - © Fiona Dempster

Heading home - © Fiona Dempster

Floodwise - it continues to rain, and the devastation deepens. Just when you think it can't get any worse it does. Toowoomba experienced an 'inland tsunami' yesterday afternoon - so far 9 people are dead and 66 are still missing. Gympie is underwater and Maryborough is expected to go under tomorrow; Ipswich is evacuating, Caboolture is evacuating and Brisbane is likely to go under on Thursday. They anticipate a further 9000 homes to be flooded in the next few days. The floodwaters at Rockhampton just won't recede and some small towns are being evacuated for a second time (the fifth flood in a month for some).

We are safe. Our town is sandbagged now (library included - so far so good) and we are experiencing frequent blackouts - we did another essentials shop today and did so in the dark - the staff had torches and guided us around. It is wearing and tiring and deeply saddening at times, but we know how lucky we are.

Best wishes to others experiencing the water and the bushfires near Perth. A tough country.


  1. Your pages are absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful effect.

    The flooding is heartbreaking to watch so how must it be for those in the thick of it. You summed up the current situation very well. I'm very relieved that you and Maleny are safe but oh, all those other towns... Yes, this is a very tough country.

  2. Reading your post with mixed emotions, Fiona...I am happy you nd B are safe and sound, but my heart breaks for the others facing further losses. And then I see your new pieces, which seem to come from another time, and were born from the very elements of fire and water that are proving such a curse for the country around you! They are beautiful indeed, and say to me that sometimes things can be transformed by what is taken away, and what remains is sometimes better for it. A note of hope.

  3. Fiona, your work has such a richness about it - quietly sophisticated and so lovely.

    I am sorry to hear of the continuing devastation.
    WE will keep praying. On a happier note: Your question about the flag-yes it's the same as your phrase about having wine or a drink but over here we use 5 o'clock-LOL.

  4. These are beautiful Fiona. The pages look to be a language lost, from the (ancient) past. I love the mix of mediums you have chosen.

  5. Stunning work. A reminder for me of ancient parchment. I'm sitting looking out at the rain and I hope yours STOPS soon. Tough times for you all. Best wishes.

  6. Hi Carol -thank you, the effect is intriguing me a bit I must say! we are all safe and dry and the creek has dropped and the sun was out today. Elsewhere they struggle.

    TT/G- thank you so much for your beautiful and elegant response to my work. The beauty emerging from what remains, and being more for the absence...how rich.

    Jane - thanks again - and thank you ever so much for the news re the 5o'clock somewhere flag! How fun that we share traditions across the globe!

    Km - thank you; they do have that sense of lost and found again; or speaking of times past. I didn't know they would - but they do!

    Annie - thanks, they are becoming storytellers of the past I think. Our rain has stopped today and the birds are back! You know it's all going to be OK when the birds begin to sing again.

  7. i really like heading home. the papermaker in me shudders about the burning, but the experimenter says go for it!!! i like how you put together many processes, yet they don't take over the images.

  8. Lee Oldford ChurchillJanuary 14, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Hi Fiona,
    I love these pages, they remind me of papers where iron gall ink writing has 'burned' through the page and caused the letters to fall out. In those cases it's a sad loss, you've transformed the look into something very lovely!
    lol, the title reminded me of a drawing I treated ages ago "going home" http://www.glenbow.org/about/behind/kenderdine.cfm
    Somewhat the opposite effect though!


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