Art happens every day at Wilson College, but not this kind of art. Internationally known environmental artist Patrick Dougherty is working his magic over the next few weeks as volunteers from the community and campus join him to create a one-of-a-kind “stickwork” sculpture at Wilson College. Over the past thirty years, Dougherty has used twigs and sticks to create outdoor art installations in the form of such things as mazes, nests, castles, and cocoons. To date, he has created more than 250 stick sculptures, which span the world. Wilson College joins Swarthmore, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Philadelphia as Pennsylvania locations to host the work of Dougherty. The finished work at Wilson College will be viewable on October 24-25.
Each sculpture takes about five tons of sticks and about three weeks to transform the twigs into art. In a 2015 interview by CBS News, Dougherty noted most of the training for stickwork art took place in childhood when playing with sticks was commonplace. Creating stickwork sculptures is interactive and multi-faceted, attracting a variety of ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.
Volunteers are needed to help with the harvesting of materials and construction of the sculpture. The harvest phase of the project is October 5-16, and ten volunteers are needed for two shifts– 8 AM to noon and 1 PM to 5 PM. The October 19-23 phase is construction of the sculpture, which requires about five volunteers for the morning shift and five for the afternoon shifts. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Professor of Fine Arts Philip Lindsey at [email protected]. No specific skills are needed other than enthusiasm, physical stamina, and the ability to follow directions. Some will need to be comfortable working on scaffold; that is, not afraid of heights. A mix of ages is best, but no one younger than eighteen.
The sculpture at Wilson College is one of about nine produced each year, and when completed it will join an international list that includes England, Japan, Mexico, Scotland, and Australia. Dougherty is booked to create sculptures through 2016. For more information about Dougherty and his art, visit www.stickwork.net.