Well, I thought about what everyone said, dove in feet first, did what seemed right and, voila! It was with some trepidation I turned it in for judging. Well, not only did the piece get juried in, it was also one of the ones that received top juror mention! Wow, the lesson here is to definitely trust myself and my process - and to listen to good advice :).
So, if you are going to PIQF in October, look for the AQuA special exhibit "Singular Sensations" and say "hi" to my piece for me. Thanks, everyone.