Art Allows Beckey Miller to Explore Her Quirky Side
“Art was not my thing,” says new Anderson Artists Guild member Beckey Miller about her younger self. Born in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania (near Hershey), she was always outside, and she played interscholastic field hockey and basketball at Shippensburg University until she dislocated her knee. This was a time before girls were awarded athletic scholarships.
She majored in elementary education and taught for a couple of difficult years in an inner city school in Harrisburg. “I struggled a little bit,” she said. “It was mostly discipline.” Married, with her first child on the way, she took a part-time evening job as a records unit supervisor for an insurance company.
Five years later, having earned the appropriate credentials at Franklin Regional Medical Center, she went to work there as a radiologic technologist. She later got a job teaching radiologic technology at Gannon University, where she completed a master’s degree in health services administration. In 2001, she and her family moved south for her job as program director of the rad tech program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, South Carolina. “We were looking for a warmer place to retire, and the opportunity came sooner than I thought,” she said.
In 2014, she and her husband retired and moved to Anderson, where they bought a fixer upper house. “It was a horrific mess,” she said. So far, they’ve replaced the roof, the siding, and the windows and updated the kitchen, with the bathrooms in progress.
She has also transformed the large yard, becoming a Master Gardener along the way. Through Clemson University’s Master Gardener program, she is involved with volunteer work that includes an annual plant sale, assisting with a school children’s garden, caring for the Rocky River, and working the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth at the Anderson Farmers Market and at Lowe’s. Unfortunately, she said, “COVID has put the kibosh on everything.”
A new interest in art has provided a way to explore her quirky side. She has made everything from art quilts to twine rugs to rope baskets to collages. “I love working with materials, and I love to put colors together,” she said. “The thing that takes the most time is thinking how I want things to look.”