Uncommon Folk: Walk This Way

Walking sticks, or canes, are a common, recognized form. They function as physical supports, status symbols, and prestige items, often with elaborately carved narratives and personal insignia. The walking sticks in this exhibition demonstrate a wide range of designs that can be used to create a simple functional object. Each artist has conveyed his or her unique vision through form, line, and color, without sacrificing functionality, resulting in a walking stick that is also a fully three-dimensional sculpture. The person who used the stick is often identifiable by the imagery and the symbolism carved into the walking stick, because it relates in some way to its owner.


Directions: Choose a walking stick that interests you and write a short story about its travels and function or use. Consider writing from the perspective of the walking stick or the person who used it. Here are some questions for you to consider while you are writing.

Where has the walking stick traveled?

What has it seen?

How was it used or what was it used for?

How did it acquire its carvings or decorations?

What do the carvings and images on it mean?