What do you get when you take 6,000 pounds of maple and dogwood saplings and put them in the hands of an internationally known sculptor?
The answer is taking shape at the corner of 14th Street and Jayhawk Boulevard in front of Spooner Hall on the Kansas University campus.
“We’re thinking about calling it ‘The Bedazzler.’… That seems right,” North Carolina-based artist Patrick Dougherty said.
Dougherty has traveled around the world constructing massive monuments out of sticks.
His sculptures can be found in such faraway places as the Scottish Highlands and the Jardin des Arts in Chateau-bourg, France.
With the help of a group of KU sculpture students, Dougherty began his latest creation about five days ago. They’re using an elm tree to support the sculpture, which is already winding about two stories high.
“We chose this site because it’s right on the corner,” he said. “There’s kind of a spinning going on because everyone’s using the sidewalk and people are turning the corner. So we are making a big object that’s going to kind of turn on the corner itself.”
Dougherty has been creating the unusual works of art since the early ’80s.
He likened it to making a giant bird’s nest.
“I’ve been working for about 25 years, if you can imagine that,” he said. “I’ve used sticks in every possible configuration.”
The project was commissioned by the Spencer Museum of Art, where Dougherty is working as an artist-in-residence.
He expects to wrap up work on the piece Thursday.
This morning, the group will be out collecting more saplings at a site near Clinton Lake, so they can finish the sculpture.
“It takes about a tractor-trailer load of sticks to build this thing.”
And once it’s up, it will stay up. Dougherty said his work usually lasts about two years. More of his sculptures can be found at his Web site, stickwork.net.