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Just a few fairy tales..

By erin the great, Oct 6 2016 09:00AM

As you may know by now, I host a plethora of gnomes in my home. While this is probably one of the more joyous roles in my life, it comes with its own difficulties. For instance, gnomes aren’t always good listeners. They tend to “fly by the seat of their pants” if you know what I mean.

Several of my gnomes are hitch-hikers. I have to check and re-check my pockets and purse to make sure there are no stowaways but gnomes are so sneaky. They usually don’t get caught.

Kinta is one such stowaway. She is a female gnome. She wears a blue dress with daisies. Kinta is smart, adventurous and athletic. She also LOVES road trips, but what gnome doesn’t?

I was hiking in Sweetwater Creak State Park, when a little Kinta jumped out of my backpack and ran down the pathway saying “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”. She stopped by the river and made little boats out of leaves and sticks and rode them down miniature waterfalls.

She threw pebbles in the water and made dirt castles, but the best part of our hike was when we came upon this knobbly tree.

Kinta was in love. She jumped from bump to bump until she made it all the way to the top. Then she ran back down again. It was so cute and she was so fast. She looked like a little blue blur zooming around that tree. Kinta climbed for about 20 minutes at full speed before she tuckered out.

She whispered in my ear that she was ready to go home, curled up on my shoulder and took a little gnome nap (which is 30 seconds in our world, gnomes don’t need a lot of sleep).

To get your own blue gnome figurine, visit my Etsy Shop

*if you have stories of photos you want to share about your gnome friend, please email me at

By erin the great, Sep 1 2016 09:00AM

There’s a new art project coming to town and it’s going to be extraordinary! I spoke with curator, Chester Hopewell about his inspiration, here’s what he had to say…

[erin the great, etg] What is the quARTer art machine?

[Chester Hopewell, C.H] The quARTer Machine (pronounced Quarter Art Machine) is a vintage candy vending machine that will now dispense small pieces of original art from creative people across the country and around the world. All of the work has been created on inch-and-a-half wood squares or circles. The machine will debut here at home in Atlanta, but who knows what the journey ahead entails.

I came across the vintage vending machine by accident, first on Instagram, then on Etsy. Luckily the seller was close, and I got to check it out in person and make sure the machine still worked properly. A few fixes would be necessary but nothing major, so I bought it and brought the beast home. I actually didn't have much of a plan for the machine. I knew I wanted to use it for some kind of art project, but the idea hadn't surfaced quite yet.

[etg] I love it when that happens. Sometimes you are just drawn to something and you know you will make something cool out of it. I found 2 antique photo albums and kept them for years before I finally came up with the perfect project to use them for.

How many artists participated and where did you find them all?

[C.H] There are about 70 artists who have contributed 350 pieces to the project so far, and I expect both of those numbers to increase in the weeks ahead. Many of the artists are based here in Atlanta, and many of those artists are part of the free art community. There are also dozens of creatives from cities near and far participating in the project: Athens, Charlotte, Austin, LA, San Fransisco, Denver, Portland, Seattle, New York, DC, Brazil, the U.K., and elsewhere. These are all artists who inspire me, and many I discovered through IG.

[etg] Wow! So each artist has contributed around 5 pieces. I love the “free art” community in Atlanta. It’s really a special project. I had heard about it many times and didn’t understand hashtags…so embarrassing. You were the person who explained how it worked to me and I’m so happy to be a part of it! You can search #FAFATL on IG to find pictures of the project and try to get your hands on one!

Do you have a favorite piece?

[C.H] This is an impossible question to answer. Every time someone drops off his or her pieces on my porch or I pull a package from my mailbox, I have a new favorite. Right now, as I work on logistics and building enough inventory, I get to live with all of these amazingly creative pieces of art. I'm surrounded by all of this wonderful work, and I can't wait to share it with other lovers of art. I'm blown away by what people have made, and the diversity of the pieces — in style, medium, subject matter — is really off the charts.

[etg] I bet it feels like a childhood birthday party, opening those packages filled with presents. I loved seeing the pieces you had when I dropped some of mine off. I remember wandwoods pieces stood out to me and didn’t realize she was your wife! Ha ha!!! I love walking into artist’s homes, it’s kind of a magical place filled with art and yours did not disappoint. I bet you are going to miss all those pieces when the project opens.

When is the grand opening?

[C.H] It’s a surprise.

[etg] Tell me more about the project.

[C.H] Each piece in the machine will be packaged in gold foil, adding a fun element of surprise whenever someone drops in a quarter.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of this project thus far has been making connections with other artists, both virtually and in person, and watching participating creators discover each other as well. There is a sense of community building around the quARTer machine, and that's been nice to be a part of.

[etg] You are an Atlanta transplant artist. How has Atlanta inspired your work?

[C.H] This city has a great creative vibe. There's an openness. There are communities of like-minded creatives and makers. There's a whole lot more encouragement than discouragement, no matter who you are, where you come from, or how much experience you have. That's a conducive environment for creativity.

[etg] I love that you put up poetry around the city and similarly mail postcards to strangers. Do you get interactions from these even though you are not around the piece when it is experienced? Or has it ever started interesting conversations or moments between you and your audience.

[C.H] First off, thank you! The Telephone Pole Project, which I actually started when living in Savannah several years ago, has been received wonderfully in Atlanta. I'm glad people have noticed and appreciated them. The whole point is to expose more people to more poetry. It's always nice to hear from someone who was touched by a poem in some way or just likes the concept of the project, whether that's in person as I staple them up or later when he or she posts a pic of one on IG. The Postcard Poem Project, which is much more intermittent and a bit less of a focus for me at the moment, is interesting if only for the fact that I have no idea who I'm sending them to or if they've been received. So far, I've not heard back from anyone who might have discovered one in his or her mailbox. But the mystery of it all is fun.


You can follow the project and Chester at quARTerartmachine and ChesterHopewell on IG. Use #quARTerartmachine if you use the machine! I can wait for it’s activation!

Chester Hopewell is an Atlanta based artist/poet and part of the Free Art movement. He uses a hot air balloon often in his art, as if to symbolize the adventure you have when experiencing his words. You can find his poems on telephone poles around the city of Atlanta or visit his website

By erin the great, Aug 20 2016 09:00AM

“Who are these people, Anyway?” A series by erin the great.

I came across 2 very old photo albums at a yard sale, years back. One cover was velvety red, very worn, with the word “ALBUM” on it. The pictures were kept safe by a metal lock engraved with curly cue vines and the word “portraits”.

The other photo album was an embellished brass plate with an arrangement of foliage and flowers. Both books were several inches thick and heavy. Each page, a quarter inch wide, embracing a very serious portrait. What really grabbed my attention was the matting around each photo. Golds and bronzes. Embossed paper with intricate leafy vines. It was beautiful! I HAD to work with them. I purchased both photo albums from the older lady getting rid of all her junk. She didn’t know the people in the photographs. They were not distant relatives. How did she get ahold of them? Who were these people, anyway?

After many attempts of incorporating the frames with my art, I realized, it was not just the frame that I loved, it was the pairing of the portrait with the frame that drew me in. I began looking at the people in the pictures. No one smiled. No names.

Who were these people, anyway?

I decided I would paint their spirit animals, as if they were wearing these animals as costumes. This is a common practice, nowadays. People love to document themselves in their costumes. Thus, was born the project “Who are these people, Anyway?”

The portraits are subtly funny. The antique colors almost blend into the background. But, the elegantly detailed matting that frames the art, brings the viewer in for a closer look. The costume is identified. The giggle and then the second look.

I enjoyed creating this project and I hope you enjoy experiencing it! See entire series here

“Who are these people, Anyway?” is currently exhibiting at AC Box Hole Gallery. The gallery is a remodeled AC Window Unit, it’s tiny and I love it! The exhibit can be viewed anytime from the outside of Vintage Atl in East Atlanta Village on the corner of Flat Shoals and Glenwood.

By erin the great, Jun 21 2016 09:00AM

Summer gnomes are always a lot of fun. They don't seem to mind the heat, but certainly enjoy cooling off in in the creak down the street, where they spend most of their time. This gang of gnomes have custom made frog costumes and they absolutely look adorable in them.

Yesterday, the gnomes had a brush with danger. A real frog took offense to the gnomes playing "leap frog" and wearing frog costumes. The frog thought they were making fun of his culture and heritage. He became agitated and aggressive. Fortunately, Ned was fluent in frog and was able to calm the real frog down, who we now know as Dennis Hopper, or Dennie. We had Dennie over for our annual Summer Ice Cream social and he was a real hit with everyone, including Karate (our cat, who barely tolerates my gnome hostel).

Anyway, I'm enjoying my new guests and hope they enjoy the rest of their summer here!

Summer gnome figurines are limited edition. Only 10 available. They are less then 2 inches tall and wear green frog hooded costumes. Gnomes are magical creatures and a joy to be around.

To purchase my frog gnomes, visit my erin the great Etsy shop here

By erin the great, May 23 2016 09:00AM

I was on a nice walk this spring, and boy have I been lucky with the Atlanta spring! We have had nice cool breezes for most of the days! I stopped to admire one of my favorite Atlanta trees, the Eastern Redbud, and noticed several gnomes frolicking around the purple/pink blossoms.

We had a nice little conversation about the wonders of spring, rainbows and ladubygs. I asked when they would be stopping by and the gnomes replied that they were waiting for the blossoms to turn to leaves. Well, I am pleased to announce that 5 female and 5 male spring gnomes have arrived! They are good guests and looking for new homes. These spring gnomes are particularly beautiful, with sky blue clothes, and redbuds hand painted on their bellies and hats! You can view more pictures Here.

Thanks for stopping by!

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A photo posted by Paff La Girafe (@pafflagirafe) on