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Last week I hosted my annual Gnome Making Workshop. Yup. You read that right. I host one every December because at this time of year my students are basically useless. They are tired, over-worked and desperate to head home for the holidays. They grow dumber every day. So, a few years ago I invited Kate Mitchell, a graduate of our post-secondary program, to head a Gnome Making Workshop. Kate is an artist. The real deal. She’s a super-talented, and way younger and cooler than I am. And for some reason, she’s really into gnomes. Gnomes, by the way, don’t really have anything to do with our program. We just like anything Kate likes. Each year Kate returns to lead the workshop for our professional and teacher training students. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Also, Kate spells gnome with a k. Knome. Spell check disagrees, but you can decide which you prefer.
You will need:
- pipe cleaners
- small wooden beads/heads
- craft paint if you’d like to paint the heads
- glue/glue gun
- needle and thread
- bits and bobs for gnome accessories – ribbon, beads, etc.
Cut a pipe cleaner in half (fold it at the centre point, and cut on the folded line, creating two pieces). One piece will form your gnome’s legs, the other its arms. You can fold the ends in just a little to prevent your gnome’s hands and feet from scratching you. Or don’t. Live on the edge.
Fold one piece of your halved pipe cleaner in half. You’ve got gnome legs.
Wrap the second piece of pipe cleaner aound the legs, leaving a small bit at the top. Now you’ve got arms for your gnome. That little bit at the top, by the way, is what you will secure your gnome head to. You can adjust the length of the arms and legs with scissors. We found that the arms were a little long, so we corrected the proportions as necessary.
Cut a rectangle of felt out. It sould be as wide as your gnome (about 3 inches), and twice as tall (about six inches). This will become the robe or pantsuit. Yup. Gnomes can wear pantsuits.
Fold the rectangle in half.
Cut a small slit at the top (centre), and push the gnome neck through.
Place the head on top. (You could do this later if you like.) We use small wooden beads. You can stick them on as-is (faceless gnome) or paint your bead, as I did. I used a colour called Santa’s Flesh. Did that make you gag a little? I did. Then I dry brushed a little cheek colour on and used a Sharpie pen to dot on some eyes. Vary the colour of the beads/flesh paint to create ethnically diverse gnomes.
Shape a robe or pantsuit with your scissors. Just cut some sleeves and a bell bottom. Or bell bottoms if you’d like pants.
Sew the outfit. Stitch up the sleeves and sides of the dress/pants. I’m sure Kate would like me to remind you to be very, very careful when using sewing needles. Do not leave them on the floor. Kate is passionate about this issue because she once stepped on a needle and had to have it surgically removed. So she reminds us over and over again.
Make the hat. Cut out a equilateral triangle, fold and sew along one edge. Voila! Hat.
Glue gun the hat to the head. I don’t have a picture of this. I thought it might upset you.
Give your gnome some bling. Go crazy. Beads, ribbon, sequins, whatever you like.
Utilize your gnome. Hang your gnome on a tree. Use as a gift topper. Whatever you like.
Here’s Kate’s knome – isn’t it sweet?
Also, you should know that Kate makes awesome cards. By hand. With Japanese paper and stuff. You can find them at Bogside Gallery in The Hydrostone Market in Halifax, NS. You should check them out – they are every bit as cute as her knomes are.