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Artist Patrick Dougherty Creates Stick Art

Cool Idea: Artist Creates Sculptures With Saplings

Artist Patrick Dougherty fashions large-scale art installations from the simplest of materials. Using tree saplings as his medium, this Chapel Hill, NC, artist manipulates trees into a variety of shapes and structures. Over the past few decades, Dougherty has created over 200 sculptures in places including the Max Azria store on Melrose Avenue to the American Craft Museum in New York.

The sculptures themselves look like natural extensions of the landscape and twist upwards and around buildings, trees, and facades, as if they were living breathing things. I'm also fairly certain that Where the Wild Things Are set designer K.K. Barrett must have been influenced by Dougherty's work when creating the nests for the film — they're just too similar.

In a recent New York Times article, Dougherty described his "Natural History" installation at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (shown here) as "lairs for feral children or wayward adults." This description strikes at the heart of what attracts many people to Dougherty's work: its connection to the wildness in each of us.

Check out a gallery of photos, as well as a time lapse video of one of Dougherty's installations when you

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Last November, Dougherty created an installation from elm and dogwood saplings for the Mulvane Art Museum on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, KS. "Topiary with a Twist" was inspired by topiary at a local cemetery. Dougherty included gates and doors in his installation, which invited people to interact with the installation sculpture.

View a few more of his pieces below, and buy his new book, Stickwork, to see his entire portfolio of work.


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Elka-Karl Elka-Karl 7 years
Treebones Resort in Monterey, CA, actually has something they call the "nest" which is an elevated nest-like bundle of sticks that you can sleep in overnight. Kind of bizarre, yet compelling!
weffie weffie 7 years
I get what you mean about the film version of Where the Wild Things Are, but I see a strong Maurice Sendak influence in Dougherty's work, too. These are great either way, I'm suddenly overcome with the desire to sleep in a real pile :)
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