Stick Sculpture Is Added To Springfield Museums | WAMC

Stick Sculpture Is Added To Springfield Museums

Jul 4, 2012

A large castle made of sticks has been built in Springfield Massachusetts.  It is not child’s play, but the work of world-renowned artist.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


            Over the course of three weeks in June, Patrick Dougherty, with the help of some 50 volunteers, twisted, pulled, tied and tangled several tractor trailor truck loads of  sticks….tree saplings actually…into a sculpture on the Quadrangle grounds of the Springfield Museums.

The art form is akin to topiary, except it does not use living plants

            Dougherty and his helpers, several of them art school students, used birch, maple and cherry sticks and saplings to erect a massive sculpture at least 20 feet high.

            Dougherty, whose home is in Chapel Hill North Carolina  has done more than 200 of these across the country and around the world  including previous projects in Northampton Massachusetts and Brattleboro and Middlebury Vermont. Each one is different.

            For the project at the Springfield Museums, Doherty said he envisioned something whimsical and rounded to contrast with the straight line stone buildings that border the quadrangle.

            The sculpture has not yet been named.

            Visitors , who inspected the work while it was in progress were very impressed.

            The sculpture is sturdy and firmly anchored in the ground.  It will likely stand in place for at least two years, according to Springfield Museum President Holly Smith-Bove

            The saplings for the Springfield sculpture came from harvestings at a wildlife refuge and a forest in the area.

            Dougherty, who worked as a carpenter before  he became a full time artist in the mid-80s says he does about ten stick sculptures a year.   His next project is at a college in St. Joseph Minnesota.