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A book called"Belong" that didn't feel worthy but somehow got 3rd Place and People's Choice award at an art exhibit. . .

Last December during an art meet up at the Habitats Exhibit at Rosewood Gallery, my friend Barbara offered up, "You should exhibit at the Works on Paper!"

My first thoughts were exciting temptation - - then tiny pangs of imposter syndrome consumed me as I scanned the gallery imagining the reality of a submission. I'm used to urging others to take a spotlight -- not putting myself in one.

I quickly remembered the pledge I made to myself (and others) to cheerlead more of my own creative stories. The little storm of insecurity calmed remembering this quote:

A promise being a promise, I gathered my courage and submitted two encaustic pieces on a Friday. Surrounded by other incredible artists and beautiful art; I was proud, overwhelmed and terrified. After drop off - I sprinted to my car. No joke.

All weekend I felt obsessive prodding to do a 3rd submission of a book. I drove to my studio and brought "Belong" home. I fretted all weekend and quite possibly drove Terry a wee bit bananas with my rickety confidence. I escorted "Belong" to Rosewood on deadline day. As I stood in line with my lil messy story encircled by very fancy fine art the nagging self-doubt returned to tug at my heart. I assured her all is well and carried on.

"Belong" was left in the good hands of Rosewood and I thought to myself, well, now, I can check that off my list! "That. Is. That!" But the book had other plans . . .

Later that month at the crowded opening reception I noticed people really resonating with "Belong." Interacting with the emotional details, touching the pages, and feeling my story. I realized that the discarded scraps and forsaken feelings was more than an object; it was an experience.

To my utter shock and delight, I was awarded 3rd place that day! The recognition and gratitude went deep to my bones. Making books helps me make sense of the loss I feel and encourages healing. "Belong" specifically became a safe container to hold my sorrow and a way to stitch the bits and pieces of a broken heart. I'm discovering that my creations are a way to be heard and felt. And in sharing my imperfect story - others know they can share theirs.

Front of "Belong" 2018. Rusty grungy palate knife I picked up at a garage sale, adopted ancestor photo, wire flower, resin photo, brass curtain ring, discarded book cover and miscellany pages.

Back of "Belong" Rusted discarded grate, eco paper, lace and fabrics, discarded book, ticking, sari ribbon, found objects, metal wings and the mundane of every day life.

A total of 73 artists from Dayton and the surrounding areas submitted 184 pieces, from which the juror, Lisa Morrisette, chose 66 artworks, representing 46 artists. I was thrilled to be a part of the exhibit and look forward to year #30 in 2020. Congrats to all the winners!

P.S. When I picked up "Belong" at the end of the exhibit, I was notified by gallery director, Paula Kraus, that I had also won the Joan W. McCoy Memorial People's Choice Award. 🖤

Until soon...



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