by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
The past few times I’ve come to the Garden with my family, my children have been scurrying off in a corner somewhere under the decking for the Children’s Garden Tree House. Yes, they still want to climb the 100-year-old mulberry tree, and yes they want to visit with the Children’s Garden staff who’ve become like friends to them, but there is something enchanting about climbing into a cool cubby that is hidden away from the main action in the Garden. There’s a new area of the Children’s Garden called StickWork Studio full of shady nooks for crafting and creating. These nooks are filled with cuttings & sticks from various places in the Garden and are meant to be worked into creations — sculptures and anything else that a kid can dream. Sliced logs are stepping stones or stackable sculpting blocks. Re-purposed gala decorations are frames for art & weavings.
Out of the sunshine and heat, in these cool nooks, my kids are inspired and hurriedly rush to create their vision. StickWork studio is an idea that immediately resonated with them but their sculptures are simple and made in minutes, not days, only to be taken apart by others and reworked the next time we visit. Next week, artist-in-residence, Patrick Dougherty will arrive in Richmond and start harvesting sticks that he will use to create a one-of-a kind stick sculpture/weaving here in the Anderson Meadow at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. On Thursday, May 5th, he will start to build the infrastructure of the sculpture that will transform the hillside below the Conservatory into a work of art that will take 3 weeks to create. I can’t wait to see how Patrick Dougherty is inspired by the beauty of the Anderson Meadow and the young red maple saplings and sweet gum he chooses to sculpt with. And, well if he runs out of inspiration, he can always cross the Lotus Bridge to the Children’s Garden and see what the little ones are working on!
To learn more about the StickWork Studio and other self-directed activities in the Children’s Garden, visit our Children’s Garden & Education webpage.