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Rising Stars: Meet Candace Duggan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candace Duggan. 

Hi Candace, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I am an Artist, Crafter, and Licensed Massage Therapist. I have been a practitioner for 21 years working in spa, chiropractic, and health club settings. I received my diploma through the Flint School of Therapeutic Massage and I’m a certified member in good standing of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. I strive to help my clients achieve relief from chronic pain and help provide overall relaxation. I’m currently working at Ascension Genesys Health Club in the massage department. 

I’m a Flint, Mi-born self-instructed mix media and digital artist. My art is deeply influenced by the natural world with the belief that my creativity is a gift intended to bring healing. 

I was inspired to start crafting as well. My crafting company is called Pluto’s Dream and it is a great passion in my life. I had a vision of what my crafting company would be and it is rooted in Cherokee Medicine. I started studying and practicing the Cherokee teachings of J.T. Garrett and Michael Garrett. I took the Cherokee I language course (twice now) taught by Ed Fields through the Cherokee Nation. I was falling back on my Cherokee traditions to help heal and guide me to find balance in my life. 

I started selling my crafts at Totem Books in Flint, MI. I made and sold upcycled bookmarks and magnets with scraps/ unusable books that Totem would provide for me. I began making hand-braided Cherokee Wish Anklets and Chip Gem Stone necklaces. Everything I handcraft is rooted in ritual, smudged with sacred sage and the Cherokee Morning Song. I sell my Cherokee Wish Anklets at Soul Oasis Spa in Flint, Mi, and offer a Cherokee Wish Anklet workshop and Cherokee Prayer Stick workshop for the winter solstice. I’m currently set up at the Holly Farmers Market on Sundays from 10-2:00 pm selling my crafts and providing chair massage. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I am a mother of three beautiful children my daughter Ella, my daughter Olivia, and my son Benjamin. 

My son Benjamin died on the day he was born, October 3, 2016, he was only with us for 34 minutes. The sudden and unexpected loss of our son was devastating to my entire family. I carried Benjamin full term, on the morning of October 3rd I had a check-up appointment with my OBGYN and everything was great. They said if I don’t start with contractions by the 6th they would induce me. I went home that afternoon feeling fine, contractions started and when they were 10 minutes apart my husband Cody and I went to the hospital. We were both so excited and ready to meet our baby boy. We got all checked in the hospital and the nurse was checking mine and Benny’s vitals. She couldn’t find his heartbeat and within minutes we found ourselves in an emergency situation. I was rushed back for an emergency caesarean delivery. I woke up to the heartbreaking news that Benjamin didn’t make it and they didn’t know why. This was the saddest news I have ever received in my life. I thought about my husband and my sweet daughters and how incredibly sad this was for them. I was stricken with grief, I couldn’t eat or sleep and I cried every day for the first year. I was diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or “Broken Heart Syndrome” and put on a heart monitor. I rapidly lost weight and strength but fought every day for my sanity. I told myself that I must get through this for my daughters, every single day for the first year was a struggle. My husband was and is my rock. 

My family and friends were right there to support me too, offering words of encouragement and love. Bringing me gentleness in many forms. My mother, Cynthia brought me a film called “Flight of the Butterflies” and it brought me peace and an idea to try help the Monarch Butterflies during their great migration. I started the process turning my flower garden into a Monarch Waystation in honor of our son Benjamin. Through this process I received healing and discovered Monarch Joint Venture were I became a Monarch Ambassador. The garden took me 3 years to complete and it has been thriving for the last 3 years. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Working as an art handler at Kolbalt Gallery in Provincetown, MA I gained experience, knowledge, and inspiration for my artistic process. I started sketching and practicing with watercolor pencils sharing what I had created with my family and friends. My dear friend Jenna asked if I would do a commissioned pet portrait for her and she opened the door for me to create several commissioned pet portraits from that point on. I found myself sketching more frequently and expressing my feelings through art. With focus on Mixed media, collage, and digital art. I had the opportunity to participate in live demonstration in 2019 at the Farris Wheel in Flint, Mi where I worked on my mixed media ‘Hopes Reflection’ for a Hope for Flint event. Most recently (May 2022) a digital work of mine has been accepted for the IDENTITY exhibition at the Cause and Affect Gallery in Fenton, MI. The exhibit runs from June 1-30th with the Artist reception on June 5th from 6:00-8:00 pm. 

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yes, there was a stretch of time during the pandemic when I couldn’t practice massage therapy. It was during a time in my life when I was bouncing back from loss and ready to start providing bodywork again. It taught me to be patient and practice safety. I’m currently focusing on an acrylic work titled ‘essential’ that I will be submitting to an upcoming exhibition. The Covid-19 Crisis has brought to my attention the importance of wearing a mask professionally. 

Pricing:

  • 60-minute Therapeutic Massage $70.00
  • 15-minute Chair Massage $15.00
  • Cherokee Wish Anklets $7.00
  • Chip Gemstone Necklaces $20.00
  • Original Artwork $134 and up

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @plutosdream34
  • Facebook: @plutosdream


Image Credits

Bobbie McAllister

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