Patrick Dougherty, Artist with Sticks

We currently live smack in the middle of a 2 1/2 acre wood. The house I moved into in June was surrounded by green so thick no neighbors or streets can be seen. This picture was taken from the front porch looking toward the street. There is a busy city street on the other side of that bank of trees. Really!

As fall arrived the distance is being revealed day by day. Now the curtain that divides the house from outside is made of branches and twigs, a lace of sticks, and shades of rich and earthly color. It’s been breathtaking and spiritual. I’m so blessed to be in this place.

This got me thinking about my available natural resources, pods, acorns, leaves, moss, and branches and twigs. Lots of twigs. The artist, really craftsperson in me, wondered what is being done using branches and twigs as the medium? I’ve been a bit removed from the art and craft world in the last few years, but with time on my hands I thought I’d explore. I remembered a bear made from branches a few years back in a nursery we visited amongst other garden sculptures made using things gathered. I thought that is what I’d find. That or furniture like the chair I own made from willow branches.

I did find some good and a lot of bad work using branches and twigs. But, I wanted to share an extraordinary artist’s work, Patrick Dougherty. The Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka Kansas just had him there to create an installation. The process is fascinating, taking 3 weeks to create (using lots of help) and with the knowledge the art piece will last about 2-3 years. Twig by twig, branch by branch, imagination takes form, and what was living, continues to live on in ideas and impressions left in the minds of the viewer and those who get to experience the works. Someday I hope I get to see his work in person.

Who we are, what we are given to work with, is best done twig by twig, step by step, day by day, year by year, and in grateful thanks to the Lord God who created all. It takes those small things to complete the all of everything.



About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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