Sallie Nau’s “Alice in Wonderland” mask, modeled by her daughter, Kaya, 10, won first prize in the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show contest. (Photo by Sallie Nau)

Sallie Nau’s “Alice in Wonderland” mask, modeled by her daughter, Kaya, 10, won first prize in the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show contest. (Photo by Sallie Nau)

Mask contest yields winners from near and far

Competition replaces Wearable Art Show

PORT TOWNSEND — We’ve been stuck in a topsy-turvy “Alice in Wonderland” world, mused artist Sallie Nau.

Hoping to capture that feeling, she fashioned an art mask from porcelain clay, scrap wool and lichen, entered the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show Mask Contest and won the $1,000 first prize.

The contest, which drew 231 entries from around the world, concluded last weekend after 10,246 votes were cast on

Tina Flores-McCleese, head of the Wearable Art Show steering committee, announced the winners and their vote totals: 1,378 for Nau’s creation, 1,298 for the second-place entry by Donna Renea Lind of Picayune, Miss., and 1,047 for the third-place winner, AJ Hawkins of Port Townsend.

AJ Hawkins’ “Pandemia” mask took third place among 231 entries in the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show competition. (Photo courtesy AJ Hawkins)

AJ Hawkins’ “Pandemia” mask took third place among 231 entries in the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show competition. (Photo courtesy AJ Hawkins)

Lind’s prize is $500 while Hawkins’ is $250 in the contest, which was open to all ages with no entry fee.

Nau is the owner of a new business in Port Orchard: Sallie’s Custom Clayworks, which has had to cancel all classes and market appearances since Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I gave [the contest] my absolute best, best shot; my little company needed the boost,” she said after learning she’d won.

The contest’s concept was born in March after cancellation of the 10th anniversary Port Townsend Wearable Art Show, a benefit for the Jefferson Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls.

Flores-McCleese and her team of volunteers wanted to give artists — of all backgrounds — an outlet for their pent-up creativity, so they put the call for entries up on the website April 1.

Following an influx of submissions, voting ran from April 29 through last May 9, with one vote per day per viewer.

Hawkins, a multimedia painter, sculptor and illustrator, also dug deep into her feelings about the crisis. Her mask, titled “Pandemia,” portrays both the villain of illness and the springtime world, with epoxy clay flowers and leaves, metal spikes, faux pearls, gold hardware and silk tassels — handpainted and attached to a used N-95 mask.

She even sculpted a set of epoxy clay horns to match.

Lind, who lives not far from New Orleans, is also known in her artistic community as Renea Le Roux; she built her mask of purple and gold brocade, crystals, pearls, purple lace and hand-ruffled satin ribbon.

Titled “Marie Antoinette Apocalypto,” it also drips with embroidered flowers.

Making the art, she said, “has truly been an honor and great fun in this difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The Port Townsend Wearable Art Show is rescheduled for Mother’s Day weekend 2021 at Fort Worden State Park’s McCurdy Pavilion.

In the meantime, more than 80 percent of the people who had bought tickets to the 2020 show have donated the purchase amount to the Fund for Women and Girls.

The fund made a $25,000 contribution this month to the Jefferson Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which is awarding grants to local nonprofit organizations providing services to people suffering from job loss and other hardship in the wake of the pandemic.

For more information, go to


Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

More in Entertainment

This untitled landscape by Carol Marshall is on display at Harbor Art Gallery throughout April.
Harbor Art Gallery to host reception for artist

A reception for Carol Marshall will be conducted from… Continue reading

Shelley Jaye’s mosaic titled “The Lava Exhaled” is part of “Breathe,” a new Showcase 2024 display at Jeanette Best Gallery in downtown Port Townsend. (Northwind Art)
‘Breathe’ exhibit now open at Northwind Art

“Dreamy Afternoon” and “The Lava Exhaled” are among the… Continue reading

Music entertainment on tap for Peninsula this weekend

Music entertainment, an art walk and plays will highlight the Peninsula this… Continue reading

Stephanie Anne Johnson will sing blues, Americana and possibly the Beatles this Friday night at Field Arts & Events Hall.
Singer to bring an American blend to Field Hall on Friday

Stephanie Anne Johnson learned by traveling on cruise ships

Monday Musicale to meet at Joshua’s

Monday Musicale will meet for lunch at noon Monday.… Continue reading

Curtis and Loretta to play at Concerts in the Woods

Curtis and Loretta will play at 3 p.m. Sunday for… Continue reading

Claire and Merah to perform at the Palindrome on Friday

Singer-songwriters Kathryn Claire and Margot Merah will perform at… Continue reading

Story People to present Tales from the Hedgerows

William Kennedy Hornyak will present “Tales from the Hedgerows” at… Continue reading

Jerry Taylor’s first-place “Cracked House” mixed media sculpture.
High school art exhibit to open in Sequim

There will be a reception for the High Schools of… Continue reading

Jefferson County Master Gardeners to conduct plant clinic on Saturday

Jefferson County Master Gardeners will conduct their “Ask a… Continue reading

The cast of “Nunsense,” front row, from left, Vicki Valley, Christine Usher and Kate Marshall; back row, from left, Madison Maxwell and Gwen Adams.
Ludlow Players to perform ‘Nunsense’ this weekend

The Ludlow Village Players will perform “Nunsense” at 6:30… Continue reading