There is not a day that goes by that I am not carrying a stick for my son. “That’s my special stick Mom- keep it safe.” I have been known to bring home sticks that are over 5 feet long from the park. We have a wonderful stick collection. This seems to be universal with children- give them nothing but sticks and dirt and they can entertain themselves.
Ever since watching Saving Mr. Banks and seeing a young P.L. Travers constructing little fairy houses, and reading Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson, my son has been building little stick houses in our yard, at the park, really anywhere he can find sticks and leaves.
When he’s not drawing in the dirt with sticks, building houses for The Littles, roasting marshmallows on sticks, sword fighting (cringe), or finding keepers, he’s making himself forts and tee pees.
Imagine his delight when while attending his cousin’s high school graduation in New Mexico we happened upon this glorious sculpture.
It was incredible. Sticks and twigs molded and shaped to mesh with the surroundings, Art that is as much experiential as it is beautiful.
The sculptor is Patrick Dougherty. Naturally I came home and researched, and he has installations all over the world. There is a documentary based on his life and work.
“Bending Sticks explores how the artist’s childhood – spent rambling through the woods and building forts and hideouts with his four siblings – fueled his career and nurtured the prolific, insightful artist he is today.”
All that time Patrick Dougherty spent in nature as a child now benefits people and children around the world. His story is encouraging and inspiring, and as a mother of young boys I am reminded that no time spent outside collecting sticks is a waste of time.