Sculpture can take a lot of forms, and we love when natural elements become part of a sculpture itself.
Artist and sculptor Patrick Dougherty has carved out a special niche for himself, using fresh-cut saplings as his medium. Using these bendable, workable sticks and branches, Dougherty carefully bends, weaves, and shapes these saplings into large, cohesive works, designs that feel windswept yet poignant and intentional.
His work has graced social spaces around the country and the world, from parks to universities to sculpture gardens. We love how expressive the forms are, some feeling like miniature dwellings, while others reference real world objects like pitchers, vessels, and even faces.
Take a look at some of Dougherty’s impressive work below, and learn more about his process and inspiration. Visit his website here.
Images used with artist’s permission.
Dougherty shares with Moss and Fog:
“I have come to believe that one’s childhood shapes a sculptor’s choice of his or her materials. For me it was growing up in the woodlands of North Carolina, which are overgrown with small trees and where forests are a tangle of intersecting natural lines. In fact, I have always loved the drawing quality of the winter landscape in which one might imagine fantasy shapes drawn into the upper branches of trees.
For me, tree branches and saplings also have the rich associations with childhood play and with the shelters built by animals. Picking up a stick and bending it seems to give me big ideas.
Beyond the huge personal pleasure that I gain from working with the simplest materials, I believe that a well-conceived sculpture can enliven and stir the imagination of those who encounter it. For viewers the pleasure is elemental and beyond politics and financial forces. I like activating public spaces and being part of the world of ideas.”