International artist uses sticks to create unique sculpture at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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Something pretty cool is taking shape in Chaska as an international artist uses the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for his next project.

While not yet complete, the project looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale.

The sculpture will be big enough for people to walk through, and it’s going to be around for years.

Crews will spend the next couple of weeks carefully creating this living masterpiece that looks like it belongs in Middle Earth, Kings Landing or outside Camelot.

Artist Patrick Dougherty and his volunteers are weaving willow branches together to shape walls, towers and windows of this fantasy come to life at the Arboretum.

“It’s like building a canvas and drawing on it,” Dougherty said. “Everything has to be done by hand. It’s a castle, kind of a maze something that intrigues people."

“It’s calming being out and weaving sticks together,” said Alice Ploghoft, a volunteer. “I appreciate birds now more and how they built their nests.”

“It reminds me of building tree houses when I was a kid or one of those fantasy movies,” said Nathan Shield, who was taking in the art exhibit Saturday.

“I’ve been able to incorporate my skills with fabric weaving in, putting the sticks in places that will make a solid structure,” said Abby McGinnis, another volunteer.

Dougherty is responsible for 301 works all over the world, and they are all different in style, shape and theme.  He’s built these fantastical stick structures in Europe, Asia and Australia.

“As a sculptor, I feel capturing peoples’ imagination is really my job,” Dougherty said.

Although it’s not done yet, that imagination is already on display in Chaska and it’s being built using Minnesota’s own trees.

“We try to dig deep into our childhood when sticks were an imaginative object and try to figure out what we can imagine with them,” he said.

For details on Dougherty’s Minnesota project, visit the Arboretum’s website. To see his past works, visit his website at