Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: Cornered

Copyright: Adam Ickes

Copyright: Adam Ickes

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 Adam Ickes. Thanks Adam!

It’s been a bit of a struggle to write this story, not from an intellectual viewpoint, but due to my broken shoulder, though it is mending day by day. At least my fingers work, as long as I place the wrist belonging to the broken shoulder on my laptop so they can reach the keys.

Here’s the story Adam’s photo inspired:


A goat took up residence in a corner.

“He can’t live here.”

“His belly’ll tell him.”

Press came; religious groups offering garlands, money. Animal militants smashed windows.

“He’s just sitting!”

Bill was to be ‘sanctuaried’. The day came, it was a pop festival with riot police.
Bill surrendered. We saw the hole. There was a tunnel, strewn with ‘goat snacks’.

The press made a meal out of us ‘charlatans’.

We’re in hiding, anchored off this island, gathering fresh food for Bill. We rescued him back, bought the yacht from the money.

Bill’s in his corner, under Chagall’s (original) ‘Blue Goat’.

(c) Ann Isik
100 words


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Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk

I promised a while back that I’d try out and report back on the techniques presented in the books I’m listing on my Recommended Books For Mixed Media Artists page. I planned on doing one a week. Of course, I haven’t been able to keep to this, but just before I fell off a cliff and broke my shoulder, I did have a go at a couple from Lynn Krawczyk’s Intentional Printing, subtitled Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art.

Why Intentional Printing? In the Introduction Lynn describes a personal dilemma, one which most artists – including me – find themselves in at some point, which is about developing a style and being original. She couldn’t solve her dilemma and decided just to experiment. She ended up with a lot of work she describes as, “… misshapen, unattractive projects.”

She took one of her works to a friend and complained about her lack of direction. Her wise friend looked at the work for a bit, then asked the wonderful and terrible question, “What do you want it to be?” Lynn couldn’t answer the question knowing only that she didn’t want her work to be ugly (in her estimation).

She couldn’t answer the question because really, the question was, “What is your life philosophy?” It’s too big a question for a one-sentence answer. It’s overwhelming and it’s what the artist faces every day in his or her studio. At that point Lynn began her journey to style and originality. She didn’t have an answer, but at least she understood the question. I think she’d fallen on a right question.

The images here have arisen from the section in Lynn’s book called Decay Printing. It means printing from found objects not normally used for printing. She describes, for instance, the technique, in word and image, of printing using pool noodles – foam tubes used in swimming pools – aids for keeping afloat.

Over at the boatyard (my husband and I are doing up a boat) and having read this section of the book, I spotted a thrown-away bit of pipe lagging and I’ve used this to make some overlapping circles (a word in my vocabularly for my Below the Line project) on some pieces of cotton curtain lining. The first two images here are actually taken from what has seeped through the fabric onto to my work table. I like these best!

Serendipitously, a neighbour mentioned he’d been reading a book on overlapping circles – about coincidence. I was intrigued and researched it and came up with some interesting information that will adds another layer to my work. These are the ways in which we achieve style and originality, by putting pencil to paper or lagging pipe to paint and seeing what happens. It will always go in the direction of our passion, also known as our life philosophy. The ability to reflect on one’s work and to be alert to coincidences develops over years. There are no shortcuts and it’s painful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALynn recommends using acrylic paints on the ends of the foam noodles using a foam paint pad and it worked well on my pipe lagging.The triangular ribbony stampings were made using a piece of styrofoam packing that came with a security light we recently installed on our garden shed.

I’ll write more reviews of this book, which is unusual among art technique books, in that it deals with artistic intention and meaning, too.

Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art by Lynn Krawczyk is published by Interweave.

You can find Lynn at Smudged Textiles Studio.

What found objects do you use as stamps?


Posted in Art, Book Reviews, Consciousness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Printmaking, Research, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walking off a Cliff: Creating when Injured

I did. Well, I slid part way down the bottom bit and smashed my shoulder, a week ago today. Might need surgery. Fingers crossed. It was all very dramatic. Two ambulances. (Did they think I was in bits that would need taking to different places?) Gas and air administered in the ambulance. I started to sing. Really badly. Sorry, Andy, Ray and Dave (paramedics/ambulance driver).

Things get better daily. As you see, I can type. If I rest the wrist of the broken arm on my laptop under the keyboard, I can get my fingers over most of the keys. The exclamation mark is a bit painful, but I’ve more or less banned myself from use of this anyway as too easy a substitute for more interesting vocabulary.

Attempt at Painting with Right Hand: Grid with Cells, Fan with Arrows, on Brown Line and Enclosed. Dr Ph Martin's Liquid Watercolours

Attempt at Painting with Right Hand: Grid with Cells, Fan with Arrows, on Brown Line and Enclosed. Dr Ph Martin’s Liquid Watercolours

I have tried to do some artworks with my right hand (I’m a leftie and it’s the left shoulder I’ve mangled). Interesting. I could only do simple stuff but it sort of honed down my brain too. In these, I am just arranging some of the visual vocabulary I’ve been finding for my Below the Line project.

It occurred recently that my Below the Line project is about events occurring in time and space and needed setting. I’ve been looking at the nature of space, kinds of space. Especially since my encounter with the kind of space described in the May 24 entry of the St Francis Breviary, which I wrote about in my last blog. I’m having some interesting walks in my research, including into caves and grottos such as those at Lascaux and Les Combarelles (the latter of which I’ve walked in real life).

So in this crude coloured drawing above, I’ve surrounded my content in a sort of bubble and situated this on a brown line to anchor the event to the ground. I was thinking about grounding and lines and lines as wires and tightropes. The issue of tension arises.

There is a lot to consider and explore arisen from this crippled little work.

My fingers need a rest now.























Posted in Art, Consciousness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Painting, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Research, Sketchbooks, Walking, Walking by the Sea | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

St Francis Gives Me An Image

This is the coffee filter that was jammed in my printer. Everything is art!

This is the coffee filter that was jammed in my printer. Everything is art!

The last time I wrote about art, I reported how I’d broken my printer trying to print on paper coffee filters. Before taking the mangled machine to printer hospital, I had one last go at healing it myself. And this time I found the filter it had swallowed without trace. It was in a tight ball, jammed in a dark corner. Luckily, it came out whole. I ran the printer through its entire cleaning and maintenance programme and voilà! it made a full recovery.

Coffee Filter Art VThe event has foreshadowed recent life events – the machinery of my life became jammed by an alien object.  A few weeks ago I revisited Aylesford Priory, a beautiful, greatly spiritual place. It’s nearby and has become a favourite haunt. My husband and I had lunch in the priory’s new restaurant – a huge beamed and thatched barn – which includes a shop. There’s a large choice of books; and ceramics made in the in-house pottery.

As we went to leave the restaurant it began to rain in torrents. The heavens opened, as they say. My raincoat was in the car. My husband had his with him, so we decided he’d go back to the car for my coat. I turned back into the building and began to browse among the books; and I found myself drawn to Day by Day with St Francis, subtitled A Franciscan Breviary and edited by Gianluigi Pasquale OFM CAP. I’ve looked up the abbreviations and they stand for The Order of Capuchin Friars Minor – described as a reformed order of Franciscans.

Divine Fire - the Altar, Aylesford Priory

Divine Fire – the Altar, Aylesford Priory

I turned to the entry for the day, 24 May. It was a story about a visit paid to Francis by his great pal St Clare at his place in Assisi – St Mary of the Angels. They and companions were to share a meal. Actually, it occurs to me as I write that the story – of Francis and Clare eating together in a holy place – was exactly what my husband and I had just done (though neither of us are saints).

What happened to St F and St C however, when they sat down to eat, didn’t happen to us. St Francis began to speak of God and the whole company entered into such a state of rapture that the people of the towns around saw the church and the forest surrounding it glowing brightly, thought it all on fire and hurried to put it out. What they discovered was “… divine, not material fire … to demonstrate … the fire of divine love …”  The source for the story is acknowledged as The Little Flowers of Saint Francis, 15; The Prophet, 590-1.

While I was reading this story, I was surprised to receive a very clear image of a fan. If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you’ll know that I’d been playing around with the fan shape as part of my ongoing Below the Line art project. (That’s how I did the damage to the printer – the coffee filters are fan-shaped).

I hadn’t, though, been thinking of my art, or fans. The rain still pounding, I pondered what connection there could be between the story and fans. I could find nothing in my subconscious. Came to mind was the expression, ‘… fan the flames …”. And it came to me  that the alien object had jammed-up my spirituality and that the solution was to fan the flames of my spirituality (in the direction of love) and that this would mend my broken ‘creativity machine’.

Fan-shaped Candelabra, The Altar, Aylesford Priory

Fan-shaped Candelabra, The Altar, Aylesford Priory

The fan image that flared up in my conscious mind was very vivid – and simple. It was a piece of cloth in the shape of a circle and across the bottom third it was drawn together with a thread, creating folds and thus forming a fan.  As soon as I could, I made one and it created a fan that was also the shape of a scallop shell – the emblem of St Jacques (St James) de Compostela, a saint with whom I have had in the past, a few adventures.

I also saw this scallop/fan in my mind’s eye with the addition of arrows at the top edge of each of the folds of the gathered cloth (the arrow is another symbol I’ve been drawn to add to the vocabulary of my Below the Line project) which will also attribute direction and focus to my fans. I was to focus on fanning the flames of my spirituality in the direction of divine love in order to heal my jammed up creativity machine.

I’m not a catholic. I bought the St Francis book and went back into the chapel and lit a candle for my gravely troubled alien object, others of my acquaintance in distress and need and for those who love, and are presently anxious for my safety and wellbeing. I bought a stained glass window sticker depicting the Dove of Peace and stuck it on my greenhouse window and later, added a beautiful stained-glass type cross. My greenhouse now resembles a little wood and glass chapel! Will my tomato plants produce divine tomatoes? Divine-tasting, at least, I hope!

Coffee Filter Art VI EnhancedOn further reflection, I saw how rain had stopped me from leaving the restaurant at Aylesford Priory and turned me back into the bookshop, where I was presented with a story of fire; divine fire, interpreted to represent divine love. Divine water, divine fire, divine love. Once I’d bought the book, the rain stopped and I was allowed to proceed on my earthly way, through air re-baptised. I felt refreshed.  It was, too, an encounter with the four elements on both spiritual and physical levels. The four elements are also an aspect of my Below the Line project.

How do you come by your images?







Posted in Art, Christian, Consciousness, Digital Printmaking, Encaustic Art, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Painting, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Photography, Printmaking, Spiritual, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments


Ted's View (c) Ted Strutz 2014

Ted’s View
(c) Ted Strutz 2014

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 Ted Strutz. Thanks Ted!


“So you like hurting people and found a way of doing it legally.” This, followed by a whinny.
Christian recognised the outlandish jocularity as a manifestation of fear – but some days he couldn’t help himself.
“You guessed.” He revealed the syringe to his patient; squirted local into the air.
“My grandfather caught me anaesthetising the cat with lido-drenched cotton balls.”
The man paled.
“Your g-grandfather had lido?”
“He was a dentist too. And my father. Dentistry goes right back to Germany in the Szell family.”
The man fainted.
Christian smiled. No need to waste expensive anaesthetics on Marathon Man fans.

Ann Isik
100 Words

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Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: Exposed

(c) B W Beacham

(c) B W Beacham 2014

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.

I’m coming in this week under the 100 word limit. Will I be jettisoned, like an unwanted shopping trolley?


They finished their cigarettes in silence, ground them underfoot and strolled off towards the car park. The stubs, still smoking, danced a cheery reel around their heels for a short while, uplifted by a merry breeze, then tumbled from the bridge into the water.
“… all that dumped junk!”
“Stole the shopping trolley, then …”
“… couldn’t be bothered to take it back to the supermarket …”
“And just look at all the other stuff!”
“Spoilt the view.”

(c) Ann Isik 2014
78 words

Posted in Comedy Writing, Consciousness, Dialogue, Ecology, Flash Fiction, Mindfulness, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Short Story Writing, The Countryside Code, Theme, Walking, Writing | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Friday Fictioneers: In the Moment

(c) Bjorn Rudberg

(c) Bjorn Rudberg

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  fellow Friday Fictioneer Bjorn Rudberg. Thank you, Bjorn.

Here’s the story Bjorn’s photo inspired.

In the Moment

“The soul of man is like to music;
From Heaven it cometh
To Heaven it riseth
And then returneth to earth,
Forever alternating.”
“Goethe,” he returned, in an undertone … but I think it’s water, not music?”
Someone shushed them.
She considered the musicians – one, old, strung out the past; the youth fingered towards future. Each would have troubles. Yet here, in this dusky moment, each was dependent on the other’s fingerings for the notes weaving the melody wending heavenward.
She began to speak, but his hand smothered hers.
“Be in the moment,” he said, “it’s all we have.”

(c) Ann Isik
99 words

Posted in Consciousness, Flash Fiction, Inspiration, Music, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Short Story Writing, Spiritual, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Walking Wisley: The Glasshouse: A Visual and Olfactory Delight

The Glasshouse Wisley, full of visual and olfactory delights!

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Walking Wisley: Visual Delights IX

Giant Fern (Looking Rather Like a Giant Spider), The Glasshouse, Wisley

Giant Fern (Looking Rather Like a Giant Spider), The Glasshouse, Wisley. I love the purple, brown and green colours in this.



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Walking Wisley: Visual Delights VIII

The glasshouse at RHS Wisley is a feast of texture and pattern. Here are two types of weave from the tropical zone. Both are from different types of palm.

I think the one on the right is a date palm. It reminded me of a particular date palm in public gardens in Dubai. On a first visit, a small lizard poked its head out from a pocket that had formed between the weaves. It was clearly living there. On a second visit, I made a point of checking for the lizard and sure enough, it was still in occupation! Was it the same lizard? Certainly!

Nature’s patterns and textures never fail to surprise and delight.

Take a walk! Look out particularly for patterns and textures. Post your photos and give me a heads up.





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