Every person has a story, but how often is it really shared visually?
In 1996, Debi Hitter, known as Ms. Sticks, hit upon a novel way to display an individual’s life stories when she was hiking in the woods of North Carolina collecting branches. A friend showed her how to do woodburning, and that opened a door into a new art form for Debi.
She began crafting “Life History Sticks,” walking sticks decorated with the stories of people’s lives…the names of offspring, place born, hobbies and favorite sports teams…pictures of the sentimental details of that person’s life. Her sticks are often given as gifts for hallmark occasions such as 50th birthdays or retirment parties. But not always.
She created one Life Stick for a man who had 12 children. Many of his life’s momentous occasions took place in a car… closing a bridge when his RV broke down in the middle…losing the family’s luggage off the top… getting stuck in a blizzard and having to leave Mom and the kids in the car to go for help. Imagine all this captured on a walking stick!
One of Debi’s popular items is her Eagle Scout Sticks on which she engraves all the badges a young man has earned, along with other reminders of his youth. Her sticks are also used by cancer survivors to inspire healing, stories which Debi shares on her website.
Each of the Life History Sticks is personally customized and typically take 2 to 3 weeks to complete, but she has a large assortment of one-of-a-kind pieces at her shows as well.
Debi invites everyone to come down to the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival to be a part of the artists’ and musicians’ lives and worlds and to have a great time!