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SHALLOTTE—Shaleigh Scott has been through a lot, her sister Pam Flowers said.
Despite numerous health problems that have kept her home-bound, Scott turned to creative pursuits to garner two first-place ribbons and a best-in-show award in the hobbyist category at the 40th Annual South Carolina Ceramics Association Show on June 13-14 in Columbia, S.C.
Flowers convinced her younger sister to enter her work in the competition.
“We both broke down when we realized the two pieces she entered had won,” Flowers said.
“Definitely my motto is you can never give up,” Scott said, displaying her award-winning work at the sisters’ Shallotte home that included a molded, lighted work of Christ and an eagle.
To the three-dimensional work of Jesus, Scott added “Prov. 5-21.”
The gist of the Bible passage is “he watches over us everywhere we go,” Scott said.
She said the piece looks like “he turns his head and looks at you.”
Scott said she pursued ceramics because she doesn’t believe in giving up.
“I don’t like people to be around me and say they can’t do this or that,” she said.
Scott, 35, is unable to work due to assort health issues dating back to her high school cheerleading years in western North Carolina when she suffered a spinal injury.
After the sisters moved to Brunswick County 14 years ago, she had other health problems. She also has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Lately, her weight has dropped to 96 pounds.
Flowers said she has health problems as well, and lost her job at a local store after she stayed home to care for her sister.
“I couldn’t leave her here by herself,” Flowers said. “She couldn’t get up.”
The sisters, who rent a home they are unhappy with, said they have no other housing alternatives. They are hoping for eventual mortgage assistance from HUD, but it’s a slow process.
The two rely heavily on their faith, the weekly food pantry at Camp United Methodist Church and fellowship with their church, Ocean Isle Beach Chapel, to help see them through.
Scott has also turned to her artistic inclinations, especially after she bought some used ceramic molds and an old kiln for $11.
She started pouring clay, then painting the greenware and baking it into finished ceramics.
“I was hooked, and I just fell in love with it,” Scott said. “I love wet clay. I love how it feels in my hands. It’s therapy.”
Their friend, the late Rose Hadnot who had a ceramics shop in Holden Beach, had “encouraged me for years to enter a piece [in the contest], and I said no,” Scott recalled.
Now, she said she still can’t believe she placed in the South Carolina competition.
“It was my first time entering anything with ceramics,” she said. “It was a very emotional moment.”
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.