Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: Nabat

(c) Dawn Q Landau

(c) Dawn Q Landau

Every Friday authors worldwide gather round the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Dawn Q Landau. Thanks Dawn. Your photo inspired a (rare) poem from me this week.


I looked back, sin
more comfortable
safer than flight.

I should have soared away.
Zoar was not far
but sin was nearer.

I was cosy with sin -
a warm nest.
Now, inside this pillar

I work this salt patch
walk on salt tears.
I am a bird of sorts

one featherless wing grown
to the wooden handle of my axe
my beak a pick of pecking iron.

My nest is of salt-burnt thorn
I keep my eyes like my sin safe
in sockets behind hoods

blinkered looking
neither left nor right
up nor down.

I never look back.

Ann Isik 2014
100 words

Notes and acknowledgements:

Nabat is the Hebrew for looking back.

Wikipedia: “A Jewish legend says that because Lot’s wife sinned with salt, she was punished with salt. On the night the two angels visited Lot, he requested of his wife to prepare a feast for them. Not having any salt, Lot’s wife asked of her neighbors for salt which so happened to alert them of the presence of their guests, resulting in the mob action that endangered Lot’s family.”

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New Works In Progress

Landscape of Landscapes

Landscape of Landscapes

Landscape of Landscapes is the first of a series of mixed media encaustics I’m working on – still part of my Below the Line project.

It’s small, but includes a good number of mixed media techniques, including digital imagery, an altered (bleached) photo of a landscape, and the bottom bit (green) came about when I found my hands doing something entirely unexpected.

It has led me into new territory.

I’ll skip a long story, but the green bit is knitted paper.  The paper combines two sheets of rice paper which I’ve painted, stamped and coated with encaustic wax. I have quite a collection of likewise decorated sheets for which I’d not yet found a use.

I found myself pushing one of these through my little paper shredding machine. I DON’T recommend this – it almost wrecked my shredder! If you are going to try this, wax the paper after you’ve shredded it, not before.

I had such a strong urge to knit the strips together that I had to run round to my local craft shop and just as it was closing, shouting, “Knitting needles! I need knitting needles!” This is not an uncommon event, though unlike Archimedes, I have not run round there naked and wet from my bath, or at least, not to date.

Embossing GadgetI bought a gorgeous pair of bamboo needles, the thinnest I could get and knitted a little square from my shredded, waxed sheet – feeling very Kaffe Fassett – then flattened it with my hand, then absolutely squashed it by running it through this little embossing gadget (second picture).

My local craft shop sold me this gadget for just £1. (I am not ashamed to get down on my hands and knees and ferret around under their shelves to see what’s been lost and long forgotten and this was one of my recent finds, covered in dust and without a price label).

The gold wool and wire stitched through my knitted paper square is a reference to a little story I wrote some years ago about a hero archetype doing his journey.

The addition of the incense stick with red wooden stick is a hint in the direction of the divine and the sacred aspect of journeying.

Knitting, weaving, knotting: these are my key words at the moment. I like the idea – and act – of trying to combine disparate materials and in doing so, create beautiful harmonies.

A lesson for life?


External Links:
for photo bleaching technique:

Posted in Art, Collage & Assemblage, Consciousness, Digital Printmaking, Encaustic Art, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Photography, Printmaking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seth Apter’s Studio Table Blog Hop


Seth Apter (The Altered Page) is running a blog hop of photos of artists’ studio tables.  Here’s mine. Look closely and you’ll see my cat Keeks, who often keeps me company as I work. Well, mostly she sleeps.

It’s always fascinating and often revealing to see artists’ work spaces. Francis Bacon’s studio popped into my mind as I wrote that and I found the You Tube video below, which is about the re-creation of his studio.

I’m looking forward to ‘visiting with’ the other participating artists in this blog hop. If you’re interested, just click on Seth Apter’s name  at the start of this blog – I’ve embedded a link to the list.



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Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge: Parked and Hitched

Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Every Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Roger Bultot. Thanks Roger.

Parked and Hitched

“Driver parked the truck and vanished.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We roared with laughter. The waitress glared.
“My ancestor ran off to California – gold rush era. Just disappeared.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We groaned loudly.
“Happens all the time – man leaves the house to fetch a newspaper; woman leaves her bed in the night; …”
“Aliens don’t exist,” I protested, as usual.
We were a bunch of carefree university kids, messing about in a coffee shop.
“There’s tons of evidence.”
I slapped one of his faces – coyly – with a tendril. We’re married now, Kkur and I.

(c) Ann Isik 2014

100 words

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Another Quote to Encourage Creatives: Rumi

As my broken shoulder mends (at a rate described as ‘amazing’ and ‘astonishing’ by my consultant and physio respectively) I am able to do more and more with my left hand and arm – I’m a leftie, so it’s important! – I’m bit by bit picking up my creative threads. There are some exciting developments brewing.

Nonetheless, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about my creative hiatus. My hands fell this morning on a little book I have* of extracts from the love poems of Rumi, described on the cover as, “The great Sufi saint who embraced God through the path of love.” I opened it upon words which resonated strongly with my present state of spirit – and body.

The Search

“Whether slow or speedy, he who seeks will find.
Always apply with both hands the pursuit,

For search is an excellent guide.
Though lame and limping,
Creep ever towards the goal.
Now by speech and now by silence,
Now by smell and now by sound,
Catch from every quarter the senses of the king.”

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Rumi’s king is, of course, God. I like this line: “Now by speech and now by silence, …”

I have long found silence to be more powerful than speech, … yet I so rarely practise it.

The great spiritual leaders all practised silence. It could be said to have been the first act of ministry of Jesus, who, straight after his baptism by John, went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights (wrestling and conquering satan); and in Luke 6:12-13, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles.”

It seems from the above examples, that silence – withdrawing from the world – is something to do before making important decisions. Well, it makes sense.

I’ve been contemplating this and seeking ways of getting more silence into my life. More on this another time. Meanwhile, I hope the Rumi quote resonates and comforts.



*The Love Poems of Rumi by Philip Dunn, (c) The Book Laboratory 2002; Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City

Poet Seers



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A Quote to Encourage Creatives

Blue Red Zig Zag Grid BTL Collages March 2014I come across encouraging quotes all the time. And I certainly need courage, as an artist. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of sharing them before now. Here’s a first one. Some might not, but I find it encouraging, a source for some of my angst. There’s comfort to be had just in a correct diagnosis.

“Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory aptitudes. On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other side he is an impersonal, creative process … To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.”    

Carl Jung:   Modern Man in Search of a Soul

Do you have a favourite encouraging quote?



Posted in Art, Consciousness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Spiritual, Writing | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: The Grand Tour

(c) 2014 Bjorn RudbergEvery Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Bjorn Rudberg. Thanks Bjorn!

The Grand Tour

I went travelling. The Grand Tour, they called it. All the rich young men went and marvelled at ruins, as fashion dictated.

My guide told me a tale of one youth, who, unfulfilled by ruin, ventured further than fashion and found himself amongst mountains, in a snow storm which died into a cradling mist, then lifted, revealing to the boy walls and tall towers, girdling gardens of rill and incense trees, a sacred river plunging to the sea.

I asked my guide what was this place.

“The folly of a great king.”

“And what of the boy?”

“He became a child.”

(c) Ann Isik 2014
100 words

Kubla Khan; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772–1834), courtesy The Poetry Foundation

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A Drawing and On Drawing

A Drawing and On Drawing.

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A Drawing and On Drawing

Drawing Plants Garden TableI began this drawing earlier in the year – before breaking my shoulder. I haven’t done much of this kind of drawing – in situ, in front of a subject, with just a pencil and a piece of paper – for a long time. I am out of practice. Clearly, by all the alterations. But you have to get it right, no matter what it takes. Or how long. This took about 4 hours over 2 days. It’s of a group of plants on a pedestal table with a round metal top, in our garden. It was frustrating, working this slowly, but at the same time calming, as the process demanded my full attention and focus.

There are lots of corrections, and it’s unlikely I’ll finish this, given the broken shoulder. I hope to do more of this kind of work though. I learned a lot about the plants that I hadn’t noticed before; how the leaves form, for instance, on the various plants. One of the plants is a Veronica and its leaves form and arrange themselves in pairs, and opposite to each other in the stem, as opposed to alternating up the stem.

The drawing may never be finished, but nothing I have learnt from doing this drawing will be lost.

Hat on Post and Chalked Face

Hat on Post and Chalked Face

Drawing was probably the first response man ever made to the creative urge. As primitive man walked his landscape, he searched the means to make his mark on rocks and walls.

And fences. We came across this drawing on a recent walk across a section of the North Downs. Someone lost his bonnet, it seems. Found by a passerby, he or she draped it across this fence post, then picked up a piece of chalk and drew in this primitive face. Was it to draw attention to the hat, or a response to a primitive urge to draw?

I like that the face is smiling. It made us smile, too. The artist likes making people smile, I think. I would have liked to meet him or her.

If you recognise this as your work, reveal yourself!



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Today we Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of the First World War

Today we Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of the First World War.

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