Many Hands Make Great Work on the Stick Sculpture
by Diana Plasberg, Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Note: Over the next few weeks, we will bring you updates on the progress of the Patrick Dougherty stick sculpture installation at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We are calling this 3 week transformation of the Anderson Meadow a “Meadowmorphosis.” We will celebrate the completion of the fantasy-like structure with a naming ceremony at Spring Fling on May 22nd. When the work is complete, you will be able to walk through it and peek out openings. The sculpture will be part of the Garden’s landscape as long as Nature allows, so look forward to enjoying it with seasonal changes (and even lighted at GardenFest!) To get an idea of the type of structure he is building, take a look at some photos of Patrick Dougherty’s other work.
It’s hard to believe the transformation that’s been taking place on the Anderson Meadow is in its final week! What started as a pile of sticks has shaped itself into a work of art. My latest assignment was to assist in building up one of the walls. Once Patrick showed me how to weave sticks and branches into place, I was left alone to finish the task. I studied other parts of the sculpture to see how they were woven so mine would match. While there were minor differences throughout, I looked at it from a distance it and it really didn’t matter. As I shoved sticks and twigs into the mass, I realized that I should just trust my own handiwork and relish the fact that everyone who participates gets to leave his or her own footprint, or rather, handprint into the making of the sculpture. As I write this, I wonder if the artist takes that into consideration as he creates. Perhaps I’ll ask him next time.
Patrick is very down to earth, approachable and even a bit humble about his work. It’s hard to believe the person working next to me is a renowned sculptor. He talks about his work like it’s the first time he’s been asked about it. He poses with a volunteer for a snapshot; then he chats with a group of young students who are visiting the Garden on a field trip. Next, he’s up on scaffolding assisting and giving direction to a group of volunteers. As for my fellow the volunteers, their level of enthusiasm is off the chart. Some have worked every day. Some are artists themselves. All them work hard and truly enjoy participating in this process.
In a few weeks, everyone will be able to experience the artist’s vision that has been woven by the hands of many. I look forward to coming back to experience it as a viewer, watch children run through it, and see it lighted for GardenFest. Most important, I look forward to telling people I helped to create it!