Artists and their work come in many forms. But, you know art when you see it even when it is outside the box.

Photo credit: Jonathan Boncek

Those of us visiting SC were treated to a month of watching Patrick Dougherty, Brookgreen Garden’s Winter Sculptor in Residence, demonstrate how with a vision saplings, sticks, vines and twigs can come together to create a piece of environmental art.

The finished sculpture will be part of the Brookgreen landscape for as long as it stands.

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Patrick Dougherty was born and raised in Oklahoma, earned a B.A. in English from University of North Carolina and a M.A. in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Iowa.

He progressed from a single environmental sculpture in 1982 to large creations which required truck loads of saplings. Since the beginning, he has created over 250 structures around the US and in Canada, Scotland, Japan, France, Sweden, and Brussels.

He has received several awards, and his book, Stickwork which includes thirty-eight of his works can be viewed at Or if you’d like to follow him on Facebook, he can be found at Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Doherty.

I know one thing – I’ll never look at a pile of sticks the same way again. ๐Ÿ™‚

About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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42 Responses to Sticks

  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m always in awe of what people can create with the most unlikely of materials. I want this guy on my team when we’re lost in the forest and need to take shelter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lifeinkarolingston says:

    I checked out his website. Itโ€™s just amazing how many things you can build and create just using sticks. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murphy's Law says:

    Mind-blowing! I feel bad now when I think of all the twigs and small branches I’ve raked up and set out at the curb to be picked up and discarded! All I saw was debris to get rid of. He would’ve looked at the same debris and envisioned an incredible sculpture.

    Beautiful display on website.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne says:

    I have seen his work at McKee Gardens in Vero Beach, Florida. He created “the Royals” there and they have been on display since early 2016. They make the most wonderful play houses for children and adults who visit the gardens. Glad you have discovered this wonderful artist.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joyce says:

    Fascinating! What an eye he has for utilizing the free gifts of nature. I thought it was clever for the French to build themselves houses of papier mache, but this beats that medium! It’s especially interesting that these pieces will be left to deal with the elements on their own, until the inevitable “ashes to ashes” cycle completes itself. Lots to contemplate here…..what a mind! Thanks for the link to the artist’s site! Going there now!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joyce says:

    Wow. Just “WOW!” What a world Dougherty creates! Otherworldly…..eerie….totally, completely fascinating! Thanks for educating us on this artist!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie Graves says:

    Wonderful! Are you familiar with the British artist Andy Goldsworthy? He, too, uses natural objects to create beautiful, ephemeral works of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I went and checked him out. He is amazing as well. I love art, and I always find it interesting how different people interpret it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves says:

        So true! As for Andy Goldsworthy…there is an excellent film—2001—called “Rivers and Tides” about him and his work. Also there is a new movie—“Leaning into the Wind”—that has just come out. It will be playing at our local arts cinema, and I plan to see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. lulu says:

    Such fun. I worked on an installation in Houston and enjoyed it ever so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annie says:

    How lucky you are! I love Patrick Dougherty and experienced his creative works art at the Dunbarton Oaks gardens in DC. I also have books by Andy Goldsworthy… another creative giant in nature that Laurie mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion says:

    Thatโ€™s amazing, Judy. Thanks for sharing it. I donโ€™t think my wife will buy it if I say โ€œIโ€™m saving those for a sculpture projectโ€ but I am impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandra says:

    such beautiful stickwork, i have never seen anything like this before

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating, Judy. I’ve not seen anything quite like that before, at least as a sculpture and not as structure. Thanks!


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy says:

    Amazing! I have seen some artists… do a little bit of this. But nothing this substantial! AMAZING INDEED!

    Good golly when I head back to Pennsylvania in the spring and get ready for yard work and clean up… I may just post a picture of something I make out of my stick pile!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. His creations are really whimsical and I love that they arenโ€™t permanent.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow – very intriguing and original.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oddment says:

    I join with all the other WOWs here. I am particularly fascinated by his route to environmental sculptor via English major and hospital administration. I loved watching the development of it all in your slide show. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. germac4 says:

    My goodness … What a talent! Very creative in a really divergent way… I look forward to looking at his website.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. KerryCan says:

    Are you tempted to try making your own? Think what a statement that would make in your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Fascinating and so creative.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. debrapugh says:

    Amazing artistry! What a fun post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  21. joey says:

    That is super groovy! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Eliza Waters says:

    So you gonna build one of these in your backyard this summer?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Amazing, Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Nadezda says:

    He’s a talented man, Judy.
    Happy Women’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greeting to you as well, and thank you for sharing those absolutely gorgeous water colors. I took a water color class once, and failed miserably. So to look at those beautiful paintings, makes me realize quickly what a talented artist Ms Ward is to be able to create those renderings. ๐Ÿ™‚


  25. That’s so neat an Elephant Parade!! He’s super talented. WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

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