Patrick Dougherty at the Arboretum

November 25, 2008

Recently the stick was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame for its natural greenness, simplicity, and the infinitely imaginative ways it can be played with. The stick is at once a light saber, a magic wand, an instrument—and, for environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, an art material used for making his large, elaborate, woven sculptures. (If you've passed by the Max Azria store on Melrose you'll know what I'm talking about.)

Dougherty's Catawampus, installed at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, is a giant, interactive, willow structure evocative of childhood hideouts and fairytale forts. Made from saplings, the supple but strong branches come together to create a series of rooms equipped with doorways and windows for walking in, crawling through, or peeking out.


Photos of Catawampus by orngejuglr via Flickr

The playfulness of the structure is balanced against the environmental/sculptural aspects of the work of art. Every angle has a different texture, color, and perspective that all change as the sculpture weathers over time. Catawampus will be installed indefinitely, so you can visit many times and witness how it takes on a new life of its own.

Karen Satzman
Manager, Art Classes and Family Programs