Fiona Dempster – Lost For Words


© 2016

edition of 5

dimensions in inches: 4 x 14.5 x 1

About this piece:
Grief, memory loss, being silenced. Each of these can mean we are lost for words, or left voiceless. This artists’ book uses the simple loss of letterform to create as sense of being lost for words. Printed wooden type, gradually disappears as you turn the pages, yet the subtle impression of the un-inked type remains. Lost for words, struggling to find a voice, even though the original form is still there, only fragments are expressed.

Words are the way I make my way through the world.

When my mother died unexpectedly in December 2015, I discovered in the aftermath, that I had lost my words.

Almost a year of virtually no making or creating unfolded; I had no words to give and no words to say.

In August 2016 I just had to do something, try something, try anything, to find my way back; to re-discover my words and what I wanted to say.

Devoid of inspiration and imagination, I set myself the simplest task I could think of, working with the word “Words”.

Using wooden type I inked up and masked the word WORDS, having it gradually disappear and become illegible.

The sewing underscores the notion of loss; the loose threads speak of untidiness and mess; very much how my head felt.

The book can reflect the gradual loss of language as dementia insidiously takes hold; it can also reflect the loss of self in an abusive relationship where over time, a woman is silenced.

paper, ink, thread, book cloth

About the artist:
Lives and works in Maleny, Queensland, Australia.

Fiona Dempster is a calligraphic and book artist based in Maleny,Queensland, Australia. She loves books, words, marks and text, and her work is generally elegant, spare and restrained; seeking the essence of things rather than an elaborate and complex expression of them. Text is nearly always present in her work through beautiful calligraphic words, in letterpress type, or in burnt book pages. Fiona’s work often responds to social issues as she seeks to promote peace, raise awareness of family violence, explore issues for women or consider the impact of war.


Fiona Dempster – Lost For Words