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Tracy Frank, Published July 23 2013

Her Voice: National contest winner uses art as a stress release

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

MOORHEAD – Lynda Demke of Moorhead created a beautifully detailed marker-and-ink drawing of a Welsh springer spaniel lying on a front stoop.

Then she dropped it in the mail.

The drawing was Demke’s submission to the Graceful Envelope Contest, conducted by the Washington D.C. Calligraphers Guild and the National Association of Letter Carriers.

She submitted her artwork on a whim the day before it was due and found out in May she was named one of the contest’s adult winners.

Contestants had to decorate envelopes based on the theme “A World of Change.” The postage and mailing address had to be incorporated into the design.

Demke designed her envelope based on a 65-cent stamp the U.S. Postal Service issued in 2012 called Dogs at Work. The stamp depicted a Welsh springer spaniel therapy dog visiting an elderly woman in her home.

In Demke’s drawing, the dog is lying forlorn on someone’s front steps. Near the dog is a Forum newspaper with the headline, “Saturday service licked,” meant to depict the dog’s disappointment in the cessation of Saturday postal services.

Demke said it was very exciting to be chosen as one of 10 winners among the hundreds of entries.

Winners were chosen based on artistic hand lettering, creative interpretation of the theme and effective use of color and design, including incorporation of postage stamps, according to the Calligraphers Guild.

The winning envelopes and those that received honorable mention will be on display in the lobby of the National Association of Letter Carriers headquarters building in Washington, D.C., until next June.

Demke, who works at Eventide in Moorhead, has always been artistic and said she rarely turns down an opportunity to be creative.

While working, she often repurposes donated flowers into new floral arrangements, she said.

“The residents and the visitors constantly comment on how much they appreciate having the flowers around,” she said.

In March 2012 she participated in a crow-themed art exhibit at the Spirit Room in downtown Fargo called the “Great Winter Crow Show.” She decorated a pair of black stilettos with black feathers and fake eyes and called them “Crows Feet.”

She also does poster work for local theater productions.

“I’m just dabbling a little bit,” Demke said. “It’s a creative release, a stress release.”

She has also been involved in musical theater and performed in the 1980s with the Red River Dance and Performing Company in Fargo. She also used to do illustrations for The Forum, she said.

Demke participates in art contests for fun, but she said working or participating in artistic endeavors takes an element of bravery.

“In the arts or theater, there’s a fear of rejection,” she said. “But I regret what I don’t do a lot more.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526