Gnome-Painting…at a Craft Studio near You!

While traveling along America’s West Coast and East Coast this summer, I was reminded that gnomes (and the people that create them) are absolutely everywhere.  I always enjoy scouting out gnomish trends across the globe, and I recently discovered a new breeding ground for our little friends…local pottery craft studios!


I was exploring the trendy stop and restaurant scene on Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon one evening when a gnome in the window caught my eye. The window belonged to Mimosa Studios, a paint-your-own-pots ceramic studio and handmade gift gallery that was promoting a traveling gnome contest.


To kick off the summer, Mimosa Studios encouraged gnome, art, and travel enthusiasts of to paint a gnome (eight sizes available!), receive a gnome adoption certificate, and snap traveling gnome photos to enter and win prizes.


I spent an afternoon painting this little beauty with a suitcase and a fistful of dollars, who I promptly named Pennifer Pennypincher. To start building up her travel portfolio, I invited her to join me on a hiking expedition in California’s Lava Beds National Monument for a little photo shoot and caving adventure.lava beds

Just a few weeks later while strolling the streets of Brooklyn, New York, I glanced over to see a beautifully painted mural. Now there is plenty of street art to observe in Brooklyn, but this particular one was special because there were gnomes in it! The mural belonged to a ceramic craft studio called Baked in Brooklyn in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

Brooklyn gnome mural

Along with a lovely array of mugs, plates, and bowls, this studio has gnomes available to paint inside. Unfortunately, the studio was not yet open for business when I stumbled upon it, but I made sure to have my friend snap a quick picture of me excitedly pointing at the mural gnomes.

So when you have some time this fall, browse your neighborhood to see if any local craft or pottery studios are hosting gnome painting events in your area. They seem to be popping up all over the place these days and they’re loads of fun for all ages of gnome fans!

*A version of this story is scheduled to be published in the upcoming International Gnome Club Newsletter!

Meeting Gnome Chomsky: The World’s Second Largest Concrete Gnome

Perhaps you recall my semi-recent article about visiting the world’s largest concrete gnome in Ames, Iowa. As I road-tripped through the Northeastern United States in July, I decided it was only fair to introduce myself to the world’s second largest concrete gnome as well. His name is Gnome Chomsky and he lives at Kelder’s Farm in upstate New York.

Welcomed by farm fresh flowers

Welcomed by farm fresh flowers

Standing at 13-feet, 6-inches tall, Chomsky held the Guinness World Record for “world’s tallest garden gnome” for four years. Since that time, Chomsky has been “out-talled” by 15-foot Elwood in Iowa and a 17-foot, 8 inch fiberglass gnome in Poland. Competition aside, Chomsky was absolutely stunning.

Kelder’s Farm is a 100-acre working farm that sells seasonal fruits and vegetables, runs a mini-golf course, features a petting zoo, and offers educational tours for children. The farm also gives visitors the opportunity to milk a cow, enjoy a hayride, navigate a corn maze, and explore a greenhouse.

Me & Gnome Chomsky

Me & Gnome Chomsky

Chomsky has become famous on popular travel sites like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura. Believe it or not, Chomsky was born in New York City. Artists Maria Reidelbach, Ken Brown, and John Hutchinson built him while renovating another mini-golf course. That course closed, and in 2006, Chomsky was moved up to Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson, New York. “Kerhonkson needed something big and wonderful to draw attention to this beautiful part of Ulster County,” said Reidelbach, “and Kelder’s Farm is such an authentic, welcoming place, I thought a traditional, friendly, roadside colossus would be just the thing.”

The fame, the fortune

The fame, the fortune

After spending some quality time with Chomsky and coercing my boyfriend into taking dozens of photos, I ventured inside the barn to check out the gift shop. You can find everything from gnome t-shirts to postcards and temporary tattoos amongst the produce. Since Chomsky is no longer a world record holder, the clever folks at Kelder’s Farm have started referring to him the the “First World’s Largest Garden Gnome and the “World’s Cutest Gnome.” I must admit, he is considerably cuter than his Midwestern counterpart!

Kelder's gift shop

Kelder’s gift shop

So if you ever find yourself traveling through upstate New York, I would definitely suggest stopping by Kelder’s Farm to visit Gnome Chomsky and play a round of mini-golf. And if you can’t make it out that way, at least you can keep up with him on Facebook. Yes, Chomsky has his own Facebook page