If you’ve been to Pinecrest Gardens lately, then you’ve probably seen the In the Thick of It Sculptures. These sculptures feature a collection of twigs, branches, saplings and sticks, gracefully curving and swooping to create the illusion of a playful shelter and wall.
The sculptures were designed by artist, Patrick Dougherty with the help of one of our own Girl Scout troops, Troop 100.
Last November, the troop was working on the Outdoor Art Badge to complete their journey. One day, Troop Leader, Heather Rivera got a call from a friend who works for Total Bank. She asked if the troop happened to want volunteer hours. Heather said yes, as the girls are always working on volunteers hours. When Heather took a look at the project, she immediately said “this is really cool, absolutely!”
“It was a no brainer because it was outside, it fulfilled the outdoor artist badge and the girls got volunteer hours. It ended up being such a cool project to work on,” Heather recalls. “ Our troop is really into outdoors. They liked crafts as kids, but If given the choice of going out and creating a game or sitting inside creating crafts, they always choose the outdoors. They wanted it that way.”
The artist was present at Pinecrest Gardens for about 2 weeks and the girls joined for 3 days, over the course of that time. Artist set up the stick work in advance, and once the girls were involved, they were responsible for helping fill and mold the sculpture into its final form.
First, they took three to four different sizes of twigs and wove them in and out of the skeleton. There were long, thicker stems, long skinny ones and then the smaller ones. During this stage, they had to use the longer stems first and then fill in with the thinner/shorter twigs.
After a week, the girls returned to the site. At this point they went through the structures and areas to look for funny pieces sticking out. They trimmed those pieces with shears and painted the tips to make it cohesive looking. They were up and down on ladders throughout this time.
“It was really cool to see how it grew throughout the different stages,” Heather recalled. “Throughout the experience the artist guided the girls. He was very patient and clear in describing his expectations and was a great teacher.
“I don’t think the girls realized how big this project was until the end. When it’s in the beginning, it didn’t look as big as it was. Coming back to it at the GIRL Fest and seeing all the kids walking through, it made us proud to see it and know that we did this,” Heather says.
Participating in this project is just one of the many experiences Heather is inspired to create for her girls. The outdoors and life experiences are all part of the Girl Scout program that Heather is so passionate about. “I want them to know how to change a flat when they’re old enough. To climb a tree. It’s important to me that they know that they can do the same thing as boys. They need to be able to conquer all life skills.”
And they are conquering life skills. One of the girls who participated in this project completed her Gold Award last year and 5 more girls are working towards their Gold Awards now. Troop 100 has also met the qualifications for the Four Star Award for the past four years.
Girl Scout Troop 100 was sponsored by Total Bank. The Stickworks project was sponsored by the Knight Foundation.