KIRTLAND, Ohio — Stick by stick, and bend by bend — Patrick Dougherty added the finishing touches to a masterpiece of art he named “Tilt-a-Whirl.”

Dougherty is an internationally-acclaimed artist who creates what he refers to as unique art sculptures out of nothing but sticks. He is the creator and sculptor of “Stickwork.”

What You Need To Know

  • Patrick Dougherty’s "Stickwork" has come to the Holden Arboretum in northeast Ohio

  • Dougherty is an internationally acclaimed artist

  • The sculpture at Holden Arboretum is named "Tilt-a-Whirl"

  • For more information on how to visit the “Stickwork” display you can go to

“I always say that we were all children and we played with sticks, and so it's a bit of reawakening of that kind of abilities to take some kind of nonstandard material and work with it as you do when you're a child,” Dougherty said.

Tilt-a-Whirl is part of a collection of many Stickworks that have been featured in more than 300 locations around the world and all over the United States.

This is the first time he is coming to northeast Ohio – straight to the Holden Arboretum.

“I just think this is such a worthy place and it connects people up with their need for the natural world. You know, we all need to kind of get a regeneration and sometimes it's going to the beach and just humming while you're looking at the ocean and you just feel so full again, you feel like a human being, you know, and I think that gardens play that same part, too,” Dougherty said.

It has taken about three weeks, from start to finish-- to build this Stickwork exhibit — on site.

“When they walk up, we want them to feel like, you know, their imagination has stirred. We want people to run over there and take a look at it and see what's what. I always think a good sculpture causes lots of personal associations. You might think of childhood play or indigenous tribes or a bird nest outside your house, or a Beaver dam you saw, or it might be more esoteric, like a walk in the woods,” Dougherty said.

Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature he takes willow wood and sticks and twists them into gigantic masterpieces. But he doesn’t work alone; he has help from volunteers and his son, Sam, a stickwork artist.

“It’s good to work with your family and we get to work outside everyday. We like that and we’ve always, besides from this we work together a lot. I got all sorts of things I'm fixing that we work on all the time. Just like when you work with anybody and you get along well, there’s a joy in work,” said Sam Dougherty, “Stickwork” construction assistant.

Each sculpture is a unique display of craftsmanship. This is one of about 10 they’ll do this year.

“We try to make things that don’t trap the viewer, that you have a lot of views outside and within,” said Patrick Dougherty.

“I think that it’s a real good piece to walk through, I think it kind of looks like it’s moving, it’s a dynamic piece,” Sam Dougherty said.

Finishing on deadline, they are meticulous, but not perfectionists.

“We have a standard, we bring things to that standard, you know, we have three weeks, we get it done in three weeks,” said Sam Dougherty.

“We’re really happy to be finished with this. It’s raining today, you can see we’re being washed out,” said Patrick Dougherty.

The display will be on view at the arboretum for at least one year. Dougherty said it will stay up until it naturally deteriorates. The Arboretum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The display is included in the price of admission. For more information on how to visit the “Stickwork” display, go to