Sponsored by a friend of
McKee Botanical Garden
Patrick Dougherty, internationally acclaimed artist, is known throughout the world for his intriguing, one-of-a-kind creations that transform trees and twigs into functional, extraordinary works of art.
Dougherty's nature-based structures are intended to interact with their surroundings, adding elements of whimsy and visual energy to familiar settings. Each installation is unique and temporary in its design, built from natural materials that eventually breakdown and become part of the landscape once again.
On January 6, 2016, Patrick, his full-time assistant, McKee horticulture staff member, Rebeca Siplak, a team of local and out-of-state volunteers, and several other McKee staff members began building this large-scale 'Stickwork' sculpture, which has been named "The Royals". "I wanted to create something "royal" that would blend in with McKee's natural surroundings within the Royal Palm Grove", stated Patrick.
Local volunteers and some from as far away as Cape Cod, MA signed up for four hour shifts to work closely with "The Stickman". For three weeks Patrick and his dedicated team of volunteers worked tirelessly bending, lifting, climbing scaffolding, weaving, trimming, and shaping the willow branches despite numerous days of inclement weather. On January 24, the masterpiece was completed and will remain on-site at McKee until nature and time cause it to breakdown.
Patrick is extremely conscientious about environmental stewardship and hopes that his work will inspire others to care as well. No trees are killed outright in creating this sculpture. The saplings are cut in such a way that they will all re-grow, much as they would after pruning. The sticks for the sculpture come from a willow farm, A.A. Willow in Fredonia, NY, where the stumps will re-grow again and again to reproduce more saplings. When Patrick harvests in the wild, it is always done in areas where the sticks would be cut anyway, such as under power lines, or along highway right of ways; sometimes where a forest needs to be thinned because the undergrowth is too thick and not all the small trees can survive that way.
Special Thanks to all of the volunteers who assisted Patrick in building "The Royals".
Cathy D. Heeter
Orin G. Kendall
Stephen J. Lavinio
Suzanne L. Liggett
Susan Schuyler Smith
Margie S. Wagner
Thanks to Hampton Inn & Suites for accommodating Patrick during his stay and to Aiello Landscape for their help unloading the truckload of saplings.
General admission rates apply. For information on Stickwork, please call 772-794-0601.