Barbara Faulkner leads a discussion with Ashley Motes, from left, Mary Erna Scovel, Jordan Saylor, Kayla Mullen and Haley Gill at the site of 'Made From Scratch,' a sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty made entirely from sticks. Several Brenau students and faculty helped with the gathering of the materials and various parts of the installation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Out in the Sticks

Junior studio art major Ashley Motes, of Gainesville, Georgia, marvels at the 14-foot-tall, funnel-shaped sculptures on the front lawn of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens campus in her hometown.

"Made From Scratch," a sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty made entirely from sticks. Several Brenau students and faculty helped with the gathering of the materials and various parts of the installation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
“Made From Scratch,” a sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty made entirely from sticks. Several Brenau students and faculty helped with the gathering of the materials and various parts of the installation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

“If you can do this with a stick,” she remarks, “the possibilities are endless.”

Motes was one of six Brenau students who worked alongside world renowned artist Patrick Dougherty as he installed five all-natural “stickwork” structures last spring. The giant woven nests – the ones with wider bases resemble giant coffee mugs, while the narrower ones look remarkably similar to tornadoes – took three weeks to construct.

Volunteers from Brenau and elsewhere in the local arts community helped Dougherty collect sticks, switches and tree limbs to bring his gargantuan creations to life. The outdoors project proved a hit with the students, who were more than eager to trade in their traditional easels and oils for a canvas of twigs and mud.

“You can sit in a classroom and a teacher can teach you, but there are some things a teacher will never be able to teach you, because you have to go out and learn yourself,” says freshman art education major Haley Gill, of Dublin, Georgia. “If you want the most out of your college experience, and life in general, you have to try different things and get out of your comfort zone.”

Field work of the like greatly benefits students, said Assistant Professor Barbara Faulkner, by broadening their sense of scale and expanding their purview of art.

“Anything that gets them out of the academic bubble and throw them out into some real world experience, that’s great,” Faulkner says. “Anything where they can see the applications of what they are learning outside of academia is valuable to them.”

Related Articles:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

back to top