Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Patrick Dougherty


Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

This may not look like much, but I guarantee, it's gonna be stupendous. It's the beginnings of a work of ephemeral art or landscape art - many names for this - by Patrick Dougherty, an artist from Chapel Hill who's doing a three-week artist-in-residency at Morris Arboretum. Patrick arrived last week and set to work creating a huge stick sculpture that will have no name till April 18, the last day. Its theme revolves around the circular chambers of a snail, and it's an idea that came to Patrick only as he was beginning this project. This is how he's been doing it for more than 20 years, all over the world. Definitely not for the faint of heart or people who like to plan long in advance! His fascinating story will be in the paper on Friday, and his sculpture will stand on the banks of the Wissahickon, in the arboretum's sculpture garden, till it falls down. Patrick will be there during the week working and he's not a fussy type; he loves it when people get up close and share their thoughts. He says he's constantly amazed at the intensely personal memories of childhood that his sculptures evoke. Has something to do with the sticks, he thinks, and the idea that as children, we all played with sticks, built forts and climbed trees. Each day his piece grows thicker and rounder. And lest you think this is child's play, Patrick says he's had two surgeries for carpal tunnel and broken more bones than he can count. It's very hard work, something you'd never guess. He has good humor and joy about him, and his creations reflect both. I can't wait to head over to Morris and see what's new.

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About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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