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Stick forts grow up

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  September 23, 2013 12:18 PM

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"I always say, when I grab a stick, I get a bunch of good ideas." That is how Patrick Dougherty of Chapel Hill explains the hundreds of dwelling-sized stick sculptures he's created over the last twenty years. Dougherty is the subject of a new documentary, "Bending Sticks," that is currently screening in cities around the country (the nearest screening to Boston is in New York on October 19). As he explained in an interview last year, it takes him about three weeks to choose a site, collect nearby saplings, and build each of his folkloric constructions (often with the help of local volunteers). Dougherty's sculptures are enchanting and striking as art, but still, it's impossible not to think about them the way you would have as a child: How cool would it be to build that!

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Image credits, from top: "Little Ballroom" (2012), photo by Megan Cullen; "Lean on Me" (2012), photo by Thomas O’Laughlin; "Ain’t Misbehavin’" (2010), photo by Zan Maddox.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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