Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patrick Dougherty's Willow Creations

The following is from the Redding newspaper the "Record Searchlight".

Make what you will of the large, weird, whimsical willow sculpture at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding. Patrick Dougherty’s task is to make it.

Environmental artist Dougherty started working on the piece early this month. It rises some 20 feet into the sky and encircles a valley oak at Turtle Bay’s McConnell Arboretum & Gardens. Dougherty, 62, of Chapel Hill, N.C., has created more than 150 large-scale branch pieces for display throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

And now Redding. The sculpture here is being made entirely from willow branches. Dougherty uses thick limbs as well as thin, supple branchlets. Bending and weaving this plant material is a time-consuming, intricate process. With the thick branches, it can require a certain oomph. Volunteers come in handy too. Dougherty is getting help from Turtle Bay staff and community volunteers. They’ve cut and gathered branches and are helping build the structure.

Each of Dougherty’s creations is different. The oak tree is driving the design of this project — and providing structural support. When the three-week project is done, there will be three woven-willow towers with doors and windows around the oak.

Here is a website to see him work and speak:

Thought of the day: Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?

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