It is exciting for me to see Patrick Dougherty’s art ~ natural sculptures formed by interweaving saplings, branches and sticks into imaginative architectural shapes that rival any good whimsical fairytale illustration. His work adds dimension, strength, and beauty, to what Nature has already given her best to. Those of you fortunate enough to be in Pennsylvania can get up close and personal with Dougherty’s art by visiting an intricate installation at The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, (seen below).
Some people do not understand this type of art. But it speaks to me intimately. I have enjoyed countless hours making primitive versions of similar work to Dougherty’s creations. Several years ago I tackled a grapevine that was trying to grow to the top of an old growth fir. All the Tarzan’s of the world must have cringed! Some sections of the vine were thicker than my upper arm. Cutting it into long sections allowed me to pull the vine up the hill to my cottage. After constructing a stick teepee about 9 feet high, I began the long process of weaving the grapevines throughout the form. Before long it looked like a Christmas tree so I wove wreaths from branches and roots and placed ten of them on the “tree” along with a star on top. White lights were added and I loved it. Many others loved it too, but a handful of brave folks admitted they just couldn’t understand why I would make a tree out of dead things. Of course I can not compare my tree to Patrick Dougherty’s artistry, except that it too was only a temporary installation. It was strong enough to stay around 3 winters before it became a leaner beyond repair.
Dougherty’s work makes me wonder what I could create with a team of understanding volunteers!
View and learn more about Patrick’s fascinating creations; http://www.stickwork.net/installations.php
He also has a beautiful catalog of his work available on his website.