Handmade gnomes on display at library

Among a lot of pleasant projects I facilitate at the Clark County Public Library, my favorites are meeting and working with local and regional artists and craft people and displaying their work. On April 1, Lonormi Manuel, an artist from Anderson County, came in to set up a display of her handmade gnomes in the Library foyer.

Her gnomes were a hit with patrons as she took them out of the box. I’m not exaggerating when I say that nearly everyone who came through the foyer stopped to admire and talk about her work.

Lonormi graciously listened to their questions, explained her techniques, and let everyone hold at least one of the gnomes. Children were enchanted, grandmothers shared stories, adults marveled at her colorful needlepoint patterns, and crocheted figures.

The next day, Lonormi sent me an email with some biographical information and remarks about her gnomes. I’ll put it in this article just the way I got it, because an artist’s description of her work is always the best.  Here’s Lonormi’s email:

“I’ve been doing needle crafts since I was old enough to hold a needle; I most enjoy working in small scale. After seeing the work of artists Sally Mavor and Painting Pixie Studios, I was inspired to try my hand at making my own gnomes from wooden pegs, wool felt, and cotton embroidery floss.

“Each gnome is named, and I often work on a theme. The “Bee Blessings” trio currently on exhibit honors the role of honeybees in our ecosystem. The “Bird Friends” series was inspired by the birds that visit my feeder. Each Bird Friend wears the colors of a particular bird, embroidered with plants used by that bird for food or habitat.

“Music is also an inspiration. The “Baroque Spring” sextet currently on exhibit was inspired by the “Spring” movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

“Because that musical work dates from the Baroque period, I used colors and architectural ornaments popular during that period for the gnome orchestra’s costume. Their music is embroidered on their hats; when arranged in the proper sequence, the hats “spell” the opening signature of “Spring.”

“Other elements of the display are knitted and crocheted from wool and cotton yarn. I prefer using natural materials, because I seek to honor nature in my work. The only glue used in making the gnomes is applied to keep their hats on their heads — otherwise, the grandchildren would scatter them to the four winds.

“I grew up in Virginia, but have lived in Kentucky for over half my life. My husband and I live in a converted schoolhouse in rural Anderson County, with three dogs and three cats. We have two adult daughters and seven grandchildren.”

Next time you’re in the Library, stop in the foyer to look at Lonormi’s gnomes. They will brighten up your day, and leave you feeling…well, enchanted, a feeling that is highly recommended.

Programs this week:

—Tuesday, April 11, 10 AM, Internet 2, Learn efficient ways to search, retrieve information and how to copy, paste, and print.

—Wednesday, April 12, 2 PM, Kentucky Picture Show,  A 1945 Hitchcock classic. A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.

—Wednesday, April 12, 7 PM, Trivia Night at the Engine House Deli.  The answer is right on the tip of your tongue, /your tongue is too busy savoring the food.

—Friday, April 14, 10 AM, Write Local.  Join the august crowd of wordsmiths who line the shelves of the Clark County Public Library by writing a book of your own.

CCPL, there’s gnome place like it.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.