And then, I began to look for "The Sculpture." I knew that the latest creation of Patrick Dougherty, The Stick Man, was in Bluffton. I had followed the construction and enjoyed the one he created on our local college campus, so I eagerly anticipated seeing both his work and the variety of art in the galleries and shops of the tiny village.
The tiny old village of Bluffton had slowly dwindled to fewer than 600 people when artists began to discover space there for working and showing. Empty storefronts and houses were transformed and flags and banners marked the "places of art." Through a diligent marketing effort, the village began to grow as people began to come.
Now the developers are coming . . . . But that's another story.
I had read about the Stick Man's Bluffton project and the support provided by the community. I expected to find it easily in a public area in such a small town, but in the printed material, I kept seeing "Take the Ferry to Palmetto Bluff." I did not know what that meant and could not locate either the ferry or the sculpture. Everyone just said "You can't miss it!" Well, you know what? I almost did.
I had given up my search and was taking photos near a church. I struck up a conversation (of course!) with a picnicking couple who gave me marvelous directions -- leave town on the state road, go four miles toward Savannah, turn left and after entering the gate to Palmetto Bluff, go another four miles. And, by the way, those cars parked nearby did not belong to church-goers, but to the ferry riders. It arrived and departed just at the end of the lane past the church!
So, I made the drive -- it was on my way home -- and I entered another world. The Bluff offered spectacular views across the water, shaded walks under old palms and oaks and new homes with the look of gentle old ones. And there, in the middle of the public space, was The Sculpture.
I parked and walked over to it. I went into its dark spaces and looked out the openings, I marveled at the intricate design of the dome and the flow of the surfaces.
I walked to the old church and the nearby Gallery at Palmetto Bluff and viewed it from that distance.
The experience is not one which can easily be described and I wondered how many people have missed it because, like me, they couldn't find it.
On a Stolen Day, I found
the hidden treasure.