Blue skies, mild temps, dry feet and gloves — my second day volunteering on the Patrick Dougherty installation at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point could not have been more perfect.
With no ice on the decking today, I worked from scaffolding. Between what I learned yesterday and having willow from home, I felt like I had better control of the material.
This slit window is on the outside of one of the structures nearest the sidewalk. There are doorways on two walls opposite the window. My task was to carry the line element around three sides of the structure, integrating it with one of the doorways. It’s challenging to “see” around corners and through scaffolding. I’m sure that would improve with more experience. But I took the safe route and asked Patrick to check my work every hour or so to make sure my interpretation matched his vision, which ties all the structures together.
With a bit more fill just a little higher than I can reach, I think this structure will be getting its cap before long.
A group started working on another of the structures today. Others were doing fill work inside structures. And one person was doing the important but unsung work of preparing materials for others to use.
It was a delight to see a familiar face among the volunteer crew — basketmaker Elise Thornton, who I know from a class at Sievers. She helped me pull the load of willow I hauled over there out of the bed of the pickup truck first thing this morning. It wasn’t gone but was greatly diminished by the time I left.
Back at home, the path I stomped down through the snow yesterday so I could carry cut willow to the truck is still there. But there was a patch of dry ground where yesterday I was parked in slush and mud. I hope that bodes well for the work crew at Stevens Point, who will be cutting more willow tomorrow. They’ve had some really challenging conditions on this installation, and deserve a day where you can see a big pile of progress.
No picture of my favorite moment of the day (naturally): The grandparents of one of the student volunteers came to see the work. It’s so much fun to see how people interact with the work in progress!
Tomorrow, back to my own work, and to reflecting on some things I learned from volunteering on the Dougherty installation.