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Lynnie’s Lessons—Accolades and Laud

Over the next three years, the season of commissioned artwork and the push toward artistic growth intensified.

I had discovered a 3D medium that fed the hunger of my artist’s soul. All the research, designing, sculpting, sewing, writing, and building were unique to each piece. Actually, I loved the study for each character as much as the art itself.

This journey led me to enter my art to be juried at the state level, to gain the Kentucky Crafted status.

I filled out and submitted all the paperwork and was offered a spot for the dolls to be juried. Elated and terrified, I chose my five representatives with stringent criteria of my own—Lynnie remained in her box; I didn’t even consider taking her. I poured over every detail of each, snipping threads, smoothing beards, tucking shirts, and straightening cloaks. Then I carefully packed them to travel.

My four daughters and I loaded into the Ford Taurus, and they helped me navigate the entire trip. I don’t remember getting there; we had nothing but an address and printed directions the council mailed.

We parked the car, and all five of us entered the center. The room was alive and crawling with people rushing and moving, like ants around the mouth of an anthill. Tables circled and filled the vast space. Art covered the surfaces—people’s skills and talent displayed to be viewed and judged. My girls helped me unpack the dolls, drape the table, and arrange the small risers for the dolls to sit or stand. There they stood, poised and waiting.

The officials explained that the jury’s decision would be sent via a letter. The wait began. Finally, the officially stamped letter arrived. The cream-colored envelope felt heavy and thick in my hand. At some point, I tore it open.

My characters earned Kentucky Crafted status.

My art dolls received the accolade because of the little doll that now lay hidden away in a cardboard box—every skill I learned in this art medium is directly traced and rooted to Lynnie.

As I revisit that event, I know now what I had yet to understand then. I would forever treasure that day not because of the dolls, not because of the acknowledgment of my artistic skill. No, I treasure it because of sharing the experience with my daughters.

I was interviewed by our local newspaper. Of course, there were photos of the dolls, but it is a picture of the girls and me I remember most vividly from that article. Not the dolls, not the words, but the four beautiful faces looking at the camera. Those five sculptures stood on that display table and won me some accolades and laud, but all those are paltry compared to the joy my girls offered me then and now. The expired Kentucky Crafted tags remain in a drawer somewhere because of failure to renew. I kept four of the juried dolls, and I smile fondly when I notice them.

I spent some time with that photograph of my girls this week. Just taking in every detail. At that moment, when the photographer snapped the shot, something inexpressible swelled up in my heart, and it had nothing to do with my art and sculpting. It had everything to do with my daughters. They remain some of my most honest critics and greatest supporters.

Accolades and laud fade.

Accolades and laud are not our inheritance, and they are not our eternal legacy.

They are just fleeting and short-lived moments like 1970’s photographs turned orange-hued or early photographs blurred because someone couldn’t hold the pose long enough for the exposure. Sometimes they remain only in our memories, and often they just disappear, gone like the smoke they are.

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Well said. May we daily remember what is really important in our lives and not let those moments pass without recognizing their worth.

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