Hillsborough artist Patrick Dougherty is featured in the Season 8 premiere of the PBS series “Craft in America: NATURE,” which airs locally at 9 p.m. Friday on UNC-TV.
Dougherty is renowned for his distinctive stick sculptures and has created more than 250 of them in the past 35 years. His work has been displayed at museums and parks around the world. Locally, he recently installed his “Big Easy” sculpture at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, and has an installation coming to the Ackland Museum of Art in Chapel Hill in October of this year.
Dougherty designs and supervises the building of his sculptures, but material-gathering and construction is a team effort involving groups of volunteers. Some sculptures, constructed from saplings, twigs and branches that are left outdoors to be reclaimed by nature, drape over walls or buildings and some are freestanding. Most of Dougherty’s pieces have a two- to four-year life cycle and then they begin to naturally disintegrate.
Patrick Dougherty was also the subject of the 2012 documentary “Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty,” which aired as part of the Reel South doc series in 2015 and is available on DVD.
“Craft in America: NATURE” is a Peabody Award-winning series that celebrates the beauty, inspiration and future of the American landscape. The artists profiled this season promise to challenge viewers to reassess their relationship to the natural world. In addition to Dougherty, artists featured in the premiere include Michelle Holzapfel of Vermont, Mary Merkel-Hess of Iowa, Preston Singletary of Seattle and Catherine Alice Michaelis of Shelton, Washington.