Weather Forecast


Hastings artist creates sculpture garden near C.P. Adams Park

A butterfly made of branches and vines is suspended in David Cook’s woodland art garden. Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx

Hastings artist and resident David Cook has a new project. Well known as the “flower bomber,” Cook has been taking a little break from his duct tape flowers and butterflies to spend some time in nature.

For the past two months, he’s been creating a sculpture garden in the woods north of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings, west of C.P. Adams Park. But instead of bringing in loads of new materials, he’s chosen nature itself as his medium.

The art garden is full of sculptures made out of the branches and vines that had already fallen on the ground. Cook wove them into teardrops, figures, crosses, trees, butterflies, crosses, flowers, spheres, angels and more. The only man-made piece of the garden is the wire he used to hold the pieces together and support them.

Looking around at the garden in the middle of the woods, Cook was amazed himself.

“I don’t know how it all happened,” he said.

It started with a walk through the park and the woods. He had remembered walking through the woods as a boy and all the fun he had had on those trips. The next day, he went out for a walk in the woods. He found a deer path, followed it and found himself on a little rise of land.

The setting was inspiring, he started picking up bits of fallen vines and making them into sculptures. From there, the garden just kept growing.

“I felt like a kid playing in the woods making art,” Cook said.

The work is an organic result of much of his previous artistic ventures, he said. As an artist in Chicago, Cook worked in industrial sculpture, making use of things like rebar and other metals. His flower-bombing project took a lighter direction, placing oversized, highly colorful and portable sculptures in various locations to brighten people’s days. His sculpture garden mixes the styles.

“Everything I’ve done as an artist has finally come into fruition,” he said.

It’s also some of the largest work he’s done, and that falls in line with what he’s wanted to do with his art, he said. He recalled trying to make bigger pieces in his studio, but not being able to fit them through the doors. Out in the woods, he’s not limited by size.

“I can make them as big as I can,” he said.

Cook said the garden is dedicated to veterans living both here in Hastings and across the nation.

A sample of the natural sculpture is on display outside the LeDuc Historic Estate. There, three of his teardrops hang from a tree in the front yard along Vermillion Street.

Cook is more excited about this work than anything else he’s done so far, but he knows he’s not finished creating. He’ll keep making art, but he’s not trying to plan for anything specific.

“Where it goes from here, I have no idea,” he said.