Ben Miller of Kentucky takes obvious delight in finding dogwood roots that suggest evocative shapes. Here, in one of his earliest efforts to incorporate multiple reptilian forms, two entwined reptiles devour each other. [Cane with Snake and Lizard, SAAM, 1986.65.1] Having discovered his shapes, Miller then uses pen and magic marker, sealed with glossy varnish, to create layers of obsessively patterned drawings that reinforce each cane’s motif.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)
Ben Miller creates walking sticks decorated with snakes, lizards, and insects. He collects twisted dogwood roots, and incorporates his designs into the natural shape of the wood. He applies color and pattern using pen and felt-tipped marker, then coats the entire cane with a layer of varnish (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990).