Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty

Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork – twisting mazes, towering castles and hedges full of faces – have been featured in more than 300 locations around the world from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and all over the United States. This is the first time he is coming to Northeast Ohio–straight to the Holden Arboretum, with this unique outdoor experience opening August 29.

Stickwork is being presented by support from Fleet Response and Key Private Bank. Additional support has been provided by Lake Health.

“We are thrilled to bring this whimsical outdoor sculpture to Northeast Ohio,” said Jill Koski, president and CEO of Holden Forests & Gardens. “Patrick Dougherty’s outdoor artistry celebrates our connections to the natural world, and we are all appreciating and relying upon the benefits of nature more and more these days.”

Dougherty and his son will begin to create the structures made completely from willow sticks and branches beginning on Monday, August 10th. They will work daily with volunteers to complete the intensive creative project throughout the month of August. Arboretum visitors can view the work being created in the Spruce Knoll. Stickwork will be complete and open to the public on Saturday, August 29, 2020. The universally appealing creation will be on view at the arboretum for at least one year, until it naturally deteriorates.

“While touring the Holden Arboretum, I was struck by what a wonderful public resource it is, especially in these times,” said Dougherty. “It offers people contact with the natural world in a refreshing way. I look forward to contributing a sculpture to such a beautiful place.”

A Waltz in the Woods (2015) Morris Arboretum of UPA,Philadelphia, PA. Photos: Rob Cardillo
Call of the Wild (2002) Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA. Photo: Duncan Price
Villa Tempesta (2017) Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Norfolk, VA. Photo: Bill Tiernan/The Virginian-Pilot
The Big Easy (2017) Sarah P Duke Gardens of Duke University, Durham, NC. Photo: Michael Mauney
Sortie de Cave (2008) Jardin des Arts, Chateaubourg, France. Photo: Charles Crie; Patrice Roquet (fire)
A Waltz in the Woods (2015) Morris Arboretum of UPA,Philadelphia, PA. Photos: Rob Cardillo
Photo: Brianna Brough /Chapel Hill Magazine

Stickwork Opening Schedule

  • A Media Sneak Preview event will be held on Thursday, August 27th. Please email Margaret Thresher at mthresher@holdenfg.org to register and receive media credentials.
  • Dougherty will present a free lecture about his work titled “Primitive Ways in an Accelerated World” via Zoom on Friday, August 28, 2020 at 6 p.m. Click here to register.
  • An exclusive member event will be held on Monday, August 31, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is free for members however pre-registration will be required. The Arboretum campus will be open to members only including access to Stickwork and the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower (weather permitting). Rain or shine event. Please check back for details.

About Patrick Dougherty

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Dougherty was raised in North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina in 1967 and an M.A. in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Iowa in 1969. Later, he returned to the University of North Carolina to study art history and sculpture.

Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Patrick began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982 his first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. In the following year, he had his first one-person show entitled, Waitin’ It Out in Maple at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

His work quickly evolved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental scale environmental works, which required saplings by the truckloads. Over the last thirty-some years, he has built over 300 of these works, and become internationally acclaimed.

Thirty-eight of these works are collected in “Stickwork,” a monograph-memoir, published by Princeton Architectural Press. He also is the subject of a film documentary called “Bending Sticks.” Dougherty has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. More information is available at www.stickwork.net.

Check out Patrick Dougherty in the News:

The New York Times Article: Building with Sticks and Stones

CBS Sunday Morning Feature:

Hours & Admission

Opens Saturday, Aug. 29
Tuesday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm, with after-hours access for members
Included with general admission
Reservations to visit grounds are required (tickets released two weeks in advance)

Thank you to our sponsors: