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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garden gnomes inspire stories, concerns

The Alice in Wonderland inspired gnome that a Mentor woman created for the Gnome and Garden exhibit opening Sunday at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland is filled with detail. Kelly Stamblesky-Smith says she had never painted on fiberglass before and the process gave her fits. She blogged about the work as she added little playing cards to the gnome's beard, placed a hookah in his hand and poised a caterpillar on his foot. You can read about her efforts at
That's also the name she works under selling here handcrafted ornaments and other creations on Etsy, the website that's been a boon for artists and crafters wishing to sell the things they make.
Kelly's story is just one of many among the artists who put their skills to work creating the 20 gnomes that will be the heart of this summer-long exhibit at the Holden Arboretum.
She knew about the widespread prank framed around stealing garden gnomes and taking their photo in places all around the world, then returning the gnome with the photos. The idea came from the 2001 movie "Amelie," which featured a globe-trotting gnome. "Although he is awkward to move, he only weighs about 40 pounds," she said.
When I asked the Holden Arboretum how it will protect its gnomes, I was told they'd each be firmly anchored in concrete buried underground.
The gnomes will be hidden among the arboretum's landscape features all summer then will go to their sponsors for display where they choose. Be sure to catch the Gnome and Garden show at the Arboretum in Kirltand.


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