This spring, you’ll notice something quite intriguing while walking around the property at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms—a new large-scale sculpture created by Patrick Dougherty, which was unveiled to the public on April 27.
A meandering labyrinth of sticks, the sculpture—Dougherty’s 300th sculpture to date—was created over the course of three weeks by weaving flexible saplings into complex and whimsical architectural forms.
Originally inspired by the coils of Colorado rattlesnakes, the sculpture has since taken the form of an “exploratorium of sorts” as Dougherty puts it. However, that snake-like influence is still apparent while looking at the sculpture from the adjacent paved path—starting at the small “head” of the snake at the far right, follow the winding body of the snake all the way down to the “tail” at the end.
Don’t be afraid to step inside and take a look. You really have to go inside to see the architectural beauty of the piece—and that’s what Dougherty wants guests to do. Step inside at the “head”—it’s less intimidating for kids, says Dougherty—or pick any entrance point to start your exploration. Wind in and out and spend some time connecting with the sculpture.
“A good sculpture is one that causes a lot of personal associations with the viewer,” says Dougherty, adding that sticks are an imaginative object. “As kids, you see sticks everywhere and pick them up and use them in your imagination.” The hope is that the piece brings back that positive association with the woods we had as youth.
The sculpture will remain on view until it naturally falls apart—and is likely to last for two years or more.
Need to Know: The installation, entitled One Fell Swoop, is on display in the grassy clearing near the Earl J. Sinnamon Visitor Center and the Deer Creek Stables. Included in Chatfield Farms admission, which is $5 for a vehicle with five or fewer passengers, and free for members. 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton
June 29, 9:30-11 a.m.
Discover the wonders of weaving as you explore Patrick Dougherty’s art installation. Take a guided walk in and around the larger-than-life sculpture and create small outdoor ornaments by weaving natural materials. Designed for families with kids ages five to 10. $15-$17 child, $10-$12 adult.
June 17-21 and July 15-19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kids explore Patrick Dougherty’s immersive sculpture made of natural materials and take inspiration from nature and farm life to create original work through drawing, painting, and sculpting. Ages six to 12. $260-$290 for five-day camp.