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Credit : Thomas McConnell

Yippee Ki Yay (A Stickwork)

Back in 2018, Pease Park Conservancy commissioned renowned sculptor, Patrick Dougherty, to construct a temporary artwork in Pease Park located in Austin, Texas.

The sculpture consisted of five L-shaped elements and was made from locally harvested ash and Ligustrum branches that were then bent, woven and fastened to create tall, curved leaning structures. This stickwork, to be enjoyed by children and adults alike, would last about 2 years before decomposing and concluding its natural life span.

Participating as a volunteer for a day during the three-week installation, I learned that constructing this artwork was harder than it looked. Under the direction of Patrick and his son Sam, other volunteers/artists and I worked on a particularly cold January day and found that bending these materials was equal parts art, science and brute strength. After working on one small section for an entire day, I made but a small dent in the construction.

Despite the chilly weather and sore muscles, it was a fabulous day to experience Mr. Dougherty’s vision, labor with other volunteers and confirm that scaffolding with branches all day is not for sissies.