Pick-Up Artist: David Ward

Branches and twigs come alive in David Ward's geometric, organic compositions.

  • Landscape designer David Ward gives new life to old branches through his stick art.
    Photo by Shane O'Neill
  • This signature piece, on display at Oakland, California's Ohashi Design, is sold nation-wide by Michael Taylor Design Group.
    Photo by John Sutton
  • Ward collaborated with architect Fu-Tung Cheng on this red lantern made from homemade paper, bamboo and sticks. It hangs in Teance Tea Room in Berkeley, California

Creative Collector: As a child, David Ward hoarded tree trimmings in his yard, and as a teenager he began creating branch and twig objects. Today, he runs a business, Sticks and Stones, in which he works as both a landscape designer in Nevada City, California, and as a creator of minimalist, eclectic art that brings elegant touches of nature indoors.

Roots of Inspiration: Stirred by artist Charles Arnoldi’s branch forms and the work of American post-minimalist artist Richard Tuttle, Ward loves to experiment with new possibilities and forms.

Ample Harvest: Ward’s artistic motivation is often sparked by individual branches’ natural shape or texture. “Collecting is part of the fun of it,” he says. “From gathering and drying to creating a piece of art—it’s a wholly organic process.”

Branching Out: Ward often stops at empty lots or knocks on strangers’ doors to ask if he can take an irresistible branch out of the yard. The National Park Service staff in San Francisco’s East Bay area allows him access to cuttings and branch trimmings. “I enjoy recycling nature,” he says, adding that he recently started incorporating handmade paper, fabrics and lighting components into his designs.

Foliage Friendly: Ward often uses invasive species such as Scotch broom and acacia in his art. When he encounters such plants, he eradicates them but saves the limbs. “I like that I can improve a park and get art supplies at the same time,” he says. A special favorite is purple plum, which maintains its shape and viability for years.

Natural Selection: Enjoy Ward’s recycled art at www.Sticks-n-Stones.net. Prices for his work range from $600 to $5,000, depending on size and style.

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