Meet Stephen R. Feilbach: The Chainsaw-Loving, World-Traveling Dude on a Mission to Rescue Trapped Gnomes from Trees! (A human guest post!)

Have you ever looked at a tree and thought, “Hey! There’s a gnome stuck in there and I should rescue him!”

Maybe not, but believe it or not, there is a guy who’s made it his life’s mission to save trapped gnomes from forces beyond their control. And he calls himself the “Gnome Dude.”

gnome1

Stephen R. Feilbach, a Kansas City, Missouri native, has been carving faces that resemble gnomes for many years.  Now he’s taken his art to an extreme level and created Gnome Nation, a liberation movement that’s taking America by storm…one beard and pointy hat at a time.

According to Stephen, gnomes began hiding in trees many years ago because people were stealing their hats (which hold magical powers, of course).

How DARE they?!

But apparently, this little self-preservation plan backfired because many of those tree-dwellers became trapped. This is where Stephen steps in and comes to the rescue.

With a little chainsaw magic of his own, Stephen frees the trapped gnomes…then he takes his rescue mission one step further. He adopts out the freed gnomes to loving homes, spreading that quirky joy that only gnomes can bring.

gnome3

Disclaimer: a re-gnoming fee may apply to fund travel expenses.

“It just keeps growing and people are contacting me from all over the world,” Stephen said. “Now I’m obsessed with releasing or saving gnomes everywhere and adopting them out.”

Gnomes (and humans obsessed with gnomes) tend to be nature lovers and stewards of Mother Earth. So it should come as no surprise that the wood Stephen uses for his carvings is 100 percent recycled. This means no tree loses its life to allow a gnome can live! Rather, the wood is sourced from dead trees that have passed on to meet their maker.

Stephen’s gift for seeing gnomes trapped in trees and his passion for releasing them doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows him well.

“All of my life I have danced to the beat of my own drums, so most of my friends and family are not surprised by anything I do anymore.”

gnome2

So what’s next for the “Gnome Dude”?

So far, Stephen’s gnome-freeing mission has taken him to the Kansas City World Series, Davenport, St. Louis, Central Missouri, and beyond. Stephen and his gnomes have traveled from Maine to Mexico and all over the U.S. – visiting farmers’ markets, festivals, and oddball shops along the way. This summer, he’s headed to Colorado, Texas, and wherever else the wind blows as his following grows and more people discover the magic of his ingenious creations.

So what’s the best way to support Stephen’s mission and welcome one of his gnomes into your own home?

The Gnome Nation Facebook page is a great place to start, because that’s where you can get in touch with Stephen, keep up with his travels, and catch him on the road. He’s been known to leave rescued gnomes behind in shops across the country and update the page with posts to point potential adopters in the right direction.

gnome4

Adoption fees start at about $125 for an 18-inch original carved gnome and $500 to $2,000 for a 3-to-5 foot gnome.  Stephen has also made gnomes that soar to over 10 feet tall! You can hire him for custom chainsaw carvings and live entertainment, and he’s even starting to create some gnome paintings on the side.

At the time this article was written, Stephen had freed over 30 gnomes, but was well on his way to reaching his end-of-the-year goal of 100. He does all the carving and painting himself by-hand, but thrives upon the inspiration of people that he meets on the road.

“I’ve always loved taking people’s ideas and making them real,” Stephen shared.

Gnome enthusiasts and artists, like Stephen, are part of a steadily growing international niche community that I, for one, and proud to be a part of.

When asked about the biggest challenge posed by freeing gnomes from trees, this was the Gnome Dude’s top complaint:

“They won’t stop moving before they’re finished!”

To learn more about Stephen’s art, his mission, or just to have a casual chat about gnomes, check out his website or reach out to him directly at 573-418-0765 and AskStephenR@yahoo.com.

 

About the Author: Alyssa is an Atlanta-based freelancer and gnome fanatic who writes for the International Gnome Club and manages a team of gnome bloggers at The Drunk Gnome. This year, Alyssa’s epic travels will take her to the UK and Belgium to visit The Gnome Reserve and the gnome-themed brewery, Brasserie d’Achouffe.

The Makings of a Gnome Tattoo: A Photo Journey

Some gnome enthusiasts are hardcore about their obsession…even to the point of permanently imprinting their favorite gnomes on their bodies!

In the following photos, we chronicle one woman’s journey to becoming an actual gnome herself. A little weird? Yup, we thought so too.

gnome_tattoo_3inThis was the original drawing that inspired the gnome tattoo.
IMG_3769Where all the magic happens – Memorial Tattoo, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. And here we go…no turning back now!
IMG_3773IMG_3774The outline’s looking pretty rad so far…
IMG_3775IMG_3778

Master tattoo artist, hard at work in gnome creation.
IMG_3780 IMG_3786IMG_7884Ta da! The fininished product! Whaddya think? This little lady was oh so very pleased with the result.
IMG_7887And honestly, what goes better with a gnome ankle tattoo than a gnome skirt?

I hope you enjoyed this photo blog of one gnome-obsessed tattoo journey. Would you consider getting a gnome tattoo of your own so you never have to leave home without a gnome in tow?

xoxo,
Roxy the Gnome

Discovering Gnome Coffee Liqueur…in Atlanta of All Places!

Greetings gnomes and gnomettes,

As you may or may not be aware, many of us gnomes have relocated to the deep south. Oh you want to stalk us, do you? Well we’re in Atlanta but I’m NOT giving out gate code!

I, for one, was a bit concerned about how gnome-friendly it is down here. I mean, these are the people who once owned slaves. How do you think they treat their gnomes?!

A little below the belt? Maybe. Okay. Don’t hit me! Moving on.

porter

On that note, there was a sunny weekend afternoon recently when I found myself craving something dark and delicious. Before I knew it, I was belly up at The Porter Beer Bar in Little 5 Points.

Would you believe they have 800 beers here? God that’s stressful. My kinda stress!

Well I’m sitting there picking my nose and trying to make up my mind, when I spy this bottle out of the corner of my eye…

IMG_1409

Chouffe Coffee Liqueur? Was I seeing this right?!

I promptly made best friends with the bartender (I mean, who really doesn’t want to have a gnome best friend…it’s kinda like having a gay best friend.) and requested a private groping session with that bottle.

My new buddy went the extra mile and poured me a shot. Now that’s what I call service. He even introduced me to the resident Chouffe. Clearly he’s in good company…feast your eyes on those ominous unpainted gnomes lurking in the background!

IMG_1410

Gnome liqueur was simply delicious…there’s no way around it. Roasty, malty, uber-coffee-y goodness that deserves to be savored to the last drop. I didn’t know these Chouffe gnomes made any kind of non-beer booze, but I haven’t come across any other booze varieties. Have you?

Apparently, this is really rare stuff, and the Chouffe brewery doesn’t even advertise it on their website. I’ve been doing some Googling and found a few places that sell it online.

According to BOE, “Chouffe coffee liqueur is obtained through the distillation of Chouffe with the addition of grain alcohol and 100% natural coffee extracts and a dash of Mc Chouffe. Serve hot, covered with whipped cream, or cold.”

Mmmm freaking mmmmmmmm.

However, I’ve never seen it in a store and am highly doubting that I will anytime soon. But then again, I never expected to encounter it in the first place…let alone in Atlanta!

Spoiler alert: We gnomes will be visiting the Chouffe brewery THIS MAY! If there is any coffee booze onsite, you’d better bet we’ll find it.

Tootaloo drunkies. Hope you’re beginning to recover from your Mardi Gras shennanigans.

xoxo,
Kamikaze

Gnomeville: A Local Legend in Olney, Illinois (A Guest Post!)

I was born in a small town in the middle of nowhere that you’ve probably never heard of.It goes by the name of Olney: population 9,108.

4605232270_06602471c6_z

To outsiders, Olney is really only known for one thing: white squirrels. There are a couple different theories about how these albino creatures found their way to southern Illinois, but they’ve emerged as a mascot for this working class town.

137094487_f825867c17_z

But more recently, Olney has become known for something else…something that I personally take more interest in than any sort of pale-skinned rodent. A small community of gnomes has appeared along the west side of Illinois Route 130, just south of the Richland Country Club. After a seven-year hiatus, I finally made it back to my hometown to pay them a visit.

IMG_1355

You know you’ve arrived when you reach the sign marked “Gnomeville,” but you might just miss it if you blink. Over the winter holiday season, I convinced my fiancée and my parents to pull to the side of the highway so I could meet these gnomes for myself. I once called this place home and now they do, so clearly we had a lot in common.

IMG_1349

Olney’s Gnomeville has been around for a couple years now, and Cathy Fehrenbacher, who lives across from the highway display, has served as the unofficial caretaker for the gnome village.

IMG_1351

“It just kind of kept growing,” Cathy said. “It’s kind of stood on its own. It’s a group effort.”

IMG_1345

But unfortunately, the gnomes here are starting to look a bit weathered and are in desperate need of some tender loving care. I’m currently living in Atlanta, but if I only lived closer, I’d surely take them under my wing. Hopefully someone local will lend them a helping hand and keep the quaint and quirky tradition alive. This is a place where gnomes, albino squirrels, and my relatives can all coexist in peaceful harmony. And I look forward to paying them (gnomes, squirrels, and relatives) a visit next time I’m back home.

IMG_1348

Have you encountered any pop-up gnome communities where you live or have recently traveled? Keep an eye out, because these little guys and gals tend to settle in some of the most unexpected places!

*A version of this post is also published on Alyssa v. Nature and scheduled to be included in the spring edition of the International Gnome Club Newsletter!

The Day I Felt Up a Gnome

Hey gnome fans, Roxy here. I just celebrated a birthday and have been doing some serious soul searching since then. I used to blog in the category, Secrets of a Slutty Girl Gnome,” but now I’m starting to second guess my life’s purpose.

strippergnome

The tips aren’t that good anymore anyway.

Instead of slutting, I’ve turned to crafting. Somebody once said something about idle hands being the devil’s playthings. So in the spirit of playing instead of “playing,” here is the story of my first craft project…

In my regular following of “gnome news,” I came across an intriguing craft that I’d never heard of before. The craft is called “felting,” and this was the article: Felted Gnome Products on WCAX.com.

Felted gnome products? Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

I immediately began typing away on this Internet machine to pull up Susi Ryan’s Etsy shop, The Felted Gnome Knows. Felting, felting, WHAT THE HECK IS FELTING?!

According to Susi, “Needle Felting is a unique art. It is not an old technique, it started in the 1980s when some artists found that by using a machine felting needle they could shape wool by stabbing it . It takes many stabs, hours and bleeding fingers to sculpt wool but the results as you can see are terrific. There is something magical about wool felt creatures and paintings. It emanates warmth, strength and evokes a time when play was innocent.”

Welp, that’s enough for me! After a bit of browsing, I settled on purchasing Susi’s Felted Gnome Making Kit. A gnome making kit…just THINK of the possibilities!

What the heck am I supposed to do with all this?!

What the heck am I supposed to do with all this?!

A cute box full of supplies arrived promptly in the mail. I must admit that I was a teensy bit intimidated.

I settled in on the coffee table in the sunlight and opened up the instruction manual. Take a look at that white blog stuck with a needle onto a sponge-like thing. This is how it all began…

Head blob: check.

Head blob: check.

In an effort to bring more diversity to The Gnome Abode, I decided to create a brown gnome to join our clan. A rich hot sexy chocolate brown gnome. Mmmm…

You'd think those green things are arms but they're actually legs...GOTCHA

You’d think those green things are arms but they’re actually legs…GOTCHA

In practically no time at all, I had totally gotten the hang of felting. Basically, all you do is stab fuzzy stuff with a needle onto a sponge until it makes a certain shape. It’s a bit like sculpting, but involves adding more “stuff” on rather than whittling it away.

Hat-less hotness

Hat-less hotness

So in the end, this is how my first felting project turned out! Not only did I keep my hands busy and successfully complete my first anti-slut craft, but I also have a new boyfriend.

Finished product = my new boyfriend

Finished product = my new boyfriend

Whatever shall I name him????

xoxo,
Roxy the Gnome

P.S. – Have you tried felting? Share your tips or questions with me so I feel like I’m an integral part of the felting community…to cure my sluttiness once and for all…PLEASE!