Summer’s Eve – An offering of Renewal


Here in the Southern Hemisphere we are about to celebrate the first day of Summer. Although it has been a record breaking hot Spring, the light in the afternoons are a blessing and the long nights perfect for preparing Christmas and Solstice Gifts!

This year I am trying my hand at home-made incense.

This recipe was created with the intention of renewal on Summer’s Eve (here in Australia) as an offering for giving thanks, letting go of the year that has been and opening to the blessings of the coming year.

I gathered pine needles and cypress branches from local wilderness tracks and parkland over time picking branches that had already fallen. I was blessed by the local Cockatoos who take their liberties this time of year and break off the new growth of pine tips. Recent storms presented the offering of the Cypress branches. I allowed them to dry for several weeks and then put them through a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. I allowed these ingredients to sit and dry out further (particularly the pine needles need quite a long time to dry out otherwise when put through the coffee grinder they smell like grass!). My main motivation for Pine was to re-create the smell of a Christmas tree.

The Frankinscense and Mhyrr granuals were sourced from Auroma and the Sandalwood Powder is sourced from Western Australia via The Australian Soap Company.

For combustible incense (stick and cones) you will need 1 Part Binder to 3 Parts Wood/Dry ingredients. The proportions will be up to you and depend on material availability and your personal taste/preference. For this blend I used:

Dry Ingredients; Pine, Cypress, Sandalwood

Binders: Frankincense, Myrrh

I soaked rose petals in hot water and added the liquid to the dry ingredients until I had a past that stuck together while moisture could still be extracted when squeezed. I then kneaded the dough for 5-10 minutes.

This process, from sourcing the materials, walking my local area, drying, cutting preparing and finally assembling were all opportunities to put energy and intension into the incense. Here are the qualities of the ingredients chosen for this blend:



Pine support the immune system, improves vision, protects against pathogens and assists lung health.

Pine needles can be used as a tea for its Vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells and antioxidant properties. It is used to prevent hair loss, improve skin health and assists blood vessel and muscular regeneration.

Symbology: The ancient Pine species lent its name to the Pineal Gland (regulates the body’s natural rhythm of rest and renewal and regulate the reproductive cycle), which rests within the centre of brain, linked to our ability to perceive light. It is used to represent the third eye and inner sight.

Key words: Creativity, life, longevity and immortality



Cypress oil is antiseptic and can assist with respiratory spasms, muscle cramps, stops excessive blood flow and improve lung efficiency. It is a mild sedative, relieving nervous tension and anxiety. Also used in the treatment of arthritis, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhoea.

Healing, Cleansing and Protecting


Associated with death, mourning and a symbol of respect for the dead. Its shape is symbolic of hope.

Key Words: Reverence, Renewal, Relaxation.

Sandalwood (Australian)

High in sesquiterpenes which regulate emotions and stimulate the Pineal Gland. Its properties are antiseptic and antispasmodic and used for the treatment of inflammatory disorders.

Supports Meditation practice and is thought to open the mind and evoke pure awareness.

Symbology: The scented element of the sandalwood tree is derived from the ‘heartwood’ from deep within its centre. Considered a divine material in India and used for transformation and enlighten

Keys words: Sensual, relaxing, calming, devotion, transformation

Frankincense (Resin)


Used for medicinal and ritual purposes since ancient times, Frankincense is a cure-all for our stressful lifestyles. It assists in focusing the mind and releasing the tension of the body.

Relieves chronic stress and anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, immune support, and reduce high blood pressure and calm the heart rate.

High in sesquiterpenes which regulate emotions and stimulate the Pineal Gland.

Symbology: Frankincense is mentioned 52 times in the bible and used in ceremony and ritual for centuries. It is mentioned along with Myrrh in the Song of Solomon:

Till the day doth break forth, And the shadows have fled away, I will get me unto the mountain of myrrh, And unto the hill of frankincense.

Myrrh (Resin)

Healing: Myrrh, which traditionally was closely paired with Frankincense (and derived from the same plant family) has been used in ancient times to treat hay fever, herpes and to tend to wounds due to its antiseptic properties. It is anti-fungal, anti-depressant, immune boost, and improves circulation (to name just a few). Like Sandalwood and Frankincense, Myrrh is also high in sesquiterpenes.

Symbology: Connected with St Nicholas (of 4th Century Turkey), is told to have been given along with gold and Frankincense at the birth of Jesus.

Key Words: Purifying, Restorative, Regenerative, Strengthen


May your Solstice and New Year be blessed with the warmth of the sun, and your new year bring good health and happiness.

Renewal Incense can be made to order. Contact me at:


Open Studio Weekend

Thank you to the team at Segue! How lucky we are to have this space in Gippsland to experience the spoils of local art. This weekend is a great chance to stop in on your way through to the Briagolong Open Studio Weekend! Ties that Bind will be open until Saturday 21 November. Thanks to Beth, Amanda and the Team.


Upon the Earth Series – ‘On the Wires’


“On the Wires”. The first of a new series of print “Upon the Earth”. Available soon!

She didn’t look like the others

with their long wing span

nor could she echo their song.

But each time they met on the wires –

she puffed out her chest

and allowed her heart to

gently rock

as they landed then lifted

off once again.


Ties That Bind

How do we define our sense of belonging?

And what happens in those moments when an absence is felt or a new presence enters?IMG_20151027_142726

The death of my grandfather who blessed me with afternoons spent painting in his shed drew these questions into sharp focus. I suddenly became aware of the preciousness of seemingly mundane objects and ordinary moments shared, which later inspired the composition of Self Portrait (oil on canvas).

The notion of belonging re-emerged when I moved from my home town of Melbourne to pursue the long held dream of living in ‘the country’.

Suddenly everything was unfamiliar and the long process of taking root began through moments of repetition and re-tracing experience until they became familiar; a street corner that was visited every morning on my way to work, a favoured route on my bike, the slow familiarity with shop keepers and neighbours.

During this time, almost daily, a group of birds began to visit the electrical wires outside my window. For the next 9 months I began recording their visits. I wanted to know what their interaction would sound like if their movement across the wires was translated into notes on a page.

What was the effect on the whole when one left or came, when they jumped about, gathered in groups or sat patiently out on their own?

More and more, I have begun to treasure the fleeting and mundane moments.IMG_20151026_124724

Sharing a cup of tea, a walk or a meal.

In order to explore this idea I asked those people who have been birds on my wire to choose objects of significance to them and used these as inspiration to continue the series of still lives, each offering a portrait of a treasured soul in my life. Through these works I have attempted to capture the value or simple objects, symbols of how we come to understand ourselves and express who we are to the outside.

Ties that Bind will be on exhibition at Segue, Stratford Courthouse until Saturday 21 November