Lately my focus has been quite preoccupied with gnomes in preparation for a class. Much thought, time and crafting has been expended into exploring the theme. One could say it has been a time that was infused with gnome essence. In Europe gnomes are a strong theme in folklore. They are hardworking small sprites who care for nature and the land, help around farms and the home, care for the forest and wildlife. Generally regarded to be good luck, and generally beneficent as they were also said to bring good health and prosperity if treated with respect. Occasionally some were not so friendly or trustworthy, as for instance Rumpelstiltskin.
As I delved into this gnomey phase various styles, shapes and sizes of gnomes began to appear around the house. I used different techniques as well as using some ideas and patterns that other people had produced in order to learn more of how to really get a feeling for, and understanding of, the gnome character.On the whole endearing, kind, nature guardians and a tad eccentric, perhaps; my kind of people.
First to appear were some tiny gnomes made from wire and wooden beads that were fiddly but effective. Next the traditional Waldorf gnome, simple little felt capes filled with wool, these I especially like. The little cape gnomes are easy and quick to make yet stunning in their simplicity. For me they felt to have a very quiet and dignified demeanour. The experimentation led here and there, simple to complex and each had a lesson and each creation a unique personality. Their personality so distinct that the last gnome standing next to the reel of thread in the picture below became a Flower child instead- his white hair just too much like a full blown dandelion.
As a theme they were fun though I am not sure why it is we seem to give them a rather significant nose.Tradition I guess. However, what also came through very strongly for me was that link to my European ancestry, and the amazement at how strong the pull was and how the gnomes would have been an intrinsic part of the storytelling and belief systems of that past. This aspect I hope to explore further in the future. The gnome made at the craft group was an elemental creature who became an autumn personna.
Following the Waldorf tradition they were not too detailed and made from natural materials, in this instance from wool felt. The inspiration for the pattern and initial design was created last year. Several weeks ago I realised that as a group they were characters who could be very helpful as math teaching aids.Their purpose is to create a friendly personality for such concepts as addition, subtraction, addition and division, as well as to make math fun and less intimidating. Conveniently the gnomes were wearing the close to the right colours to fill that role. My red gnome is orange but this shade I felt close enough to allow a little artistic interpretation. These gnomes have proved to be a popular project. Consequently the request has come to produce a pattern for sale. It is coming-soon. However this gnome will no longer be a solo character as he has since acquired a wife and child.