CURIOSITIES: The Stickwork Sculpture at Horseshoe Bay Farms

It’s the kind of sight that makes you point and ask, “What is that?!” It looks rustic, or maybe even a little medieval. 

Driving down Horseshoe Bay Road, about three miles south of the village of Egg Harbor, you come upon the picturesque barns of the Horseshoe Bay Farms complex. Then as you pass, what looks like the peaks of four primitive huts rise behind a century-old stone wall. 

It’s only on closer inspection that you find that this is not a set of huts, but a remarkable piece of interactive, community-created art that visitors of all ages can weave through and around. “Happy Go Lucky” is a 25-foot-tall sculpture made entirely of willow branches and saplings – the brainchild of world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty and his son Sam, who guided 30 volunteers over the course of three weeks in 2022 to create the work. 

Those volunteers collected willow branches and saplings from properties in central and southern Door County (no willow trees were harmed in this process); then they followed the light touch of Dougherty in placing the branches into the sculpture. 

The Stickwork installation was created by world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

“It was really an amazing process,” said Scott Stern, who leads tours of the property and sculpture for the nonprofit that oversees Horseshoe Bay Farms, preserving its buildings and telling the story of a farm that was once one of the largest and most prominent in Wisconsin. The sculpture was added to draw people to the grounds and gardens, where they can also be captivated by the farm’s history.

Dougherty has spent 40 years creating stick-sculpture installations around the world, but they don’t last forever – and aren’t meant to. Stein said the work should last about three years, but they hope to extend its life with Virginia creeper plantings that should grow up around the sculpture and strengthen it. Experience “Happy Go Lucky” for yourself at Horseshoe Bay Farms, 7212 Horseshoe Bay Road in Egg Harbor, daily, 8 am – 6 pm, or as part of a guided tour of the farm. Get more details at

The installation as seen from the garden. Photo by Christine Dannhausen-Brun.

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