The gnome at home


Garden gnome in a sphere

A gnome in a dome on the loam.

There’s more than just broken branches and used Timmy cups surfacing as the snow melts. The gnomes are back. I’m looking at them with mixed feelings. Here’s why:

On this day last year, a garden gnome was used to demonstrate 3D modelling and digital fabrication technology thanks to MakerBot and Autodesk. He was photographed at various angles and then replicated within minutes using this newfangled “printer” which, to me, works the same way as the transporter on the Enterprise. The MakerBot Replicator is now in it’s fifth generation. This kind of weirds me out more than zombie gnomes. At least you know where they’re coming from.

On the other hand, Elliott Arkin, a sculptor of some renown, just recently completed an exhibition of his gnomes, er, artworks, including likenesses of Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keefe, at The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France. Gnomes as fine art. Hmmmmm…..

On a side note, you may remember reading a news item two summers ago about one of Arkin’s gnome works, resembling Picasso pushing a lawn mower, valued at $16,000. It had been stolen from a garden in Southern Ontario and was subsequently retrieved, though damaged. The family considered the gnome “of significant value” not because of its price tag but for personal reasons that involved a connection to the artist.

Our circa-1920’s stone gnome came over from England last fall and has spent the winter peering up at us from the comfort of our fireplace hearth. I didn’t have the heart to make him face the cold on his first year in Canada. But he’ll be going out soon. And I’ll be keeping my eye on him.

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