Gnomeland: An Introduction to the Little People by Margaret Egleton, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Gnomeland: An Introduction to the Little People
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Gnomeland: An Introduction to the Little People

by Margaret Egleton
     
 

A colorful celebration of the little people who have decorated gardens and lawns for more than 150 years.

Love them or hate them, garden gnomes are the kings of garden kitsch and the objects of their collectors' undying devotion. Gnomeland includes hundreds of color photographs and illustrations of these wizened folk in all their guises, from the

Overview

A colorful celebration of the little people who have decorated gardens and lawns for more than 150 years.

Love them or hate them, garden gnomes are the kings of garden kitsch and the objects of their collectors' undying devotion. Gnomeland includes hundreds of color photographs and illustrations of these wizened folk in all their guises, from the garden gnome, to the postcard sending traveling gnome, to the George Bush gnome.

Margaret Egleton covers all commonly known things gnome, and then some. In fact, it's downright surprising (shocking, to many) just how far and wide gnomes have multiplied and spread. But as readers will see, gnomes have been having a grand old time on their journey to global popularity.

Some of the features of the book include:

  • A world of gnomes (folklore, the first garden gnome, Disney-like gnomes)
  • The gnome makers
  • Great gnome collections
  • Gnome adventures (world travels, mysterious disappearances, conventions and protests)
  • Gnome art (postcards, pottery, cartoons and more)
  • The modern gnome (caricatures, blogs, new designs).

Gnomes have been restored to their rightful place of kitsch honor, and their fans are legion. Gnomeland is an affectionate and amusing celebration of these beloved creatures.

Editorial Reviews

Winston-Salem Journal
A celebration of all things gnome, lavishly illustrated with photos.
— Laura Geovaneli
American Profile
How well do you know your gnomes? These longtime lawn ornaments and garden guardians get their due in this photo-packed tribute.
— Neil Pond
Decorating Digest Craft & Home Projects
It's downright surprising (shocking, to many) just how far and wide gnomes have multiplied and spread. But as readers will see, gnomes have been having a grand old time on their journey to global popularity. Gnomeland includes hundreds of color photographs and illustrations of these wizened folk in all their guises, from the garden gnome, to the postcard-sending traveling gnome, to the George Bush gnome. Gnomes have been restored to their rightful place of kitsch honor, and their fans are legion. Gnomeland is an affectionate and amusing celebration of these beloved creatures.
Winston-Salem Journal - Laura Geovaneli
This 160-page hardcover book is a celebration of all things gnome, lavishly illustrated with photos of garden gnomes, including some giving rude gestures, scantily clad female gnomes, and gnome renditions of politicians such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair.
American Profile - Neil Pond
How well do you know your gnomes? These longtime lawn ornaments and garden guardians get their due in this photo-packed tribute to gnome history, gnome lore, gnome collecting and the many roles of the gnome in pop culture, art and beyond.
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN - Jarrett Smith
If you know a gardener who needs a smile, present him [or her] with a copy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554074068
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
09/12/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt

The gnome liberation front

Once upon a time, all was as it should have been in the Stevens's garden. The grass was green, a tableau of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was in pride of place on the lawn, spring had sprung and among the daffodils was a workforce of busy gnomes.

But this picture of suburban tranquillity was spoiled early one Saturday morning, when Alice and Jack looked out of the window of their house to find Snow White and her entourage had disappeared. To add insult to injury, the thieves returned the following night, and what had once been a collection of more than twenty gnomes, was reduced to the four. These little helpers were not "gnomeknapped" as they were secured in place with metal stakes.

The police response did not offer much hope for the safe return of the gnomes. "The owners were obviously upset"
said the local constable. He had logged the theft as "garden furniture, Snow White plus 7" and said "Perhaps they will turn up in a car-trunk sale."

However, this is not the only case where owners have had their beloved gnomes taken from them. Garden gnomes have lived a peaceful and pleasant life for almost 150 years. They have harmed no one, given pleasure to many and added fun to gardens all over the world. But stories of gnomes traveling to remote, even exotic locations, and sending postcards home of their travels, are now embedded in contemporary folklore. Sometimes the owners receive snapshots of the gnome or it is sometimes returned with a boot polish suntan. Incidents of traveling gnomes became so common, that a U.S. travel company launched an advertising campaign based on the idea and their "Roaming Gnome" became something of a traveler's mascot and, some would say, the most famous gnome in America. Numerous "traveling gnome" websites sprang up detailing the various adventures of gnomes, many showing great imagination and photographic skills.

Modern folklore is often based on a seed of truth. For example, in northeastern France, eleven garden gnomes were found hanging from a bridge in what appeared to be a mass suicide. Police found a note in which the gnomes said they wanted to quit this world and join a sect of the Temple of Submissive Dwarfs. "By the time you read these few words," the note continued, "we will no longer be part of your selfish world which it has been our unhappy task to decorate." Two years earlier, 119 gnomes were discovered in a forest, miles from the town of Aix-en-Provence from which they had mysteriously vanished. Single gatherings of this size are comparatively rare. More often than not, the unfortunate gnomes are rounded up in small groups, sometimes accompanied by a Snow White, and they are repainted blue and green -- the colors of the Front de Libération des Nains de Jardin (FLNJ) or "The Gnome Liberation Front."

Like most revolutions, the one that mobilized European gnomes in the 1990s might have been fueled by a mix of big business and elitism. There was a climate of stiff competition among German gnome manufacturers who prided themselves on their high-quality product. It is estimated that there are thirty million gnomes in German gardens and inevitably this encouraged a proliferation of cheaper copies from neighboring countries. The German government even banned the import of foreign gnomes and customs officers began seizing thousands of gnomes being smuggled over the Polish and Czech borders. Foreign-made gnomes then became the target of garden desecration in Germany.

The first reported FLNJ "release" was in the Normandy town of Alençon, when 200 gnomes disappeared. The police later found the haul in a nearby forest. The gnomes were not only repainted, but they were also wearing painted glasses ("to see in the dark" claimed the FLNJ) and adorned with pasta ("so they don't go hungry").

Other "groups" called themselves cells of the The Gnome Liberation Front or operated as independent movements, such as The Red Gnome Army, Free the Gnomes and Movimento Autonomo per la Liberazione delle Anime da Giardino (Independent Movement for the Liberation of Garden Gnomes). These are just a few examples of the groups that began spreading across Europe, many of them setting up websites so that they could link and communicate. Some of these sites, in a political parody, proclaim a "manifesto" including declarations that "forcing gnomes to stand in gardens without just compensation, against their free will, for the sake of ornamentation, is immoral" and go on to "urge gnomes to rise up and break the bonds of slavery!" In response to this, in Belgium, a self-styled Gnome Protection Squad claimed to have over 300 members to counter these groups. Eventually, public outrage paid off when, in 1997, four men were arrested in Bethune, France, after being caught in possession of gnomes and FLNJ literature. Subsequently, 184 gnomes were recovered from the homes of the arrested men.

In early 2000, several dozen gnomes went missing from an exhibition at the Bagatelle Gardens in Paris. The FLNJ again claimed responsibility demanding "This odious exhibition must be closed immediately." The police saw it as a national problem and suspected some form of coordination in reported incidents. Later, 43 gnomes were found in the grounds of the public library in Lingolsheim, Strasbourg. In Rouen, sixty-eight gnomes were recovered from a house after a police surveillance operation.

A website for The Garden Gnome Emancipation Movement appeared to serve as a pool of information on worldwide "gnomenapping" activity, which had spread as far as Australia, Japan and the UK. These "groups" are, of course, not really groups as such, they are spoof organizations, often initiated by individuals or students and local practical jokers who have seized on what has become a worldwide phenomenon -- "gnomenapping." These "groups" have discovered that gnomes are fun, although their type of "fun" can be very disturbing to many gnome owners.

Alex, a milkman, says his occupation is the perfect disguise for a gnome liberator. He began his undercover role when he "took" two antique gnomes from a garden to decorate his own. Dishonesty turned to irresistible impulse and the excitement of his early morning shift soared. Suddenly, every garden on his milk round blossomed with artistic potential. Often he would simply swap a gnome from one garden to another, enjoying the mischievous feeling of wondering if the owners had noticed that the gnome who was fishing yesterday was now digging. Alternatively, he would provide gnomes for the gnomeless, much to the latter's surprise when they collected their milk from their doorstep in the morning.

None of this is of much interest to Alice Stevens of course. Her husband has now taken to scouring sales hoping to spot their gnomes and perhaps catch the thieves. No luck so far. "It's a shame," says Alice ruefully, "the gnomes gave entertainment and some fantasy for the local kids." For others, somewhere, possibly in your neighborhood, they may still do.

Meet the Author

Margaret Egleton is the creator of www.gnomeland.co.uk, which has become the center of the gnome fraternity, attracting worldwide stories and pictures. She lives in the UK and sells gnomes to customers in North America, home to some of the world's largest gnome collections.

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