Monday, September 19, 2011

Blues Vs Reds - Another gnome chess set!

They're so cute when they get along with each other.
I've been trying to play catch up after my ordeals with sick birds, spontaneous farmers market and apple picking excursions (can't miss that now, can I? mmm... apple crisp...) One thing I've been meaning to make for about 6 months now is another gnome chess set.
I made one of these back in spring and it was adorable! I didn't have a board for them then, but sold the pieces alone. It was a hit, even without the board, so I've been meaning to make another. Well, I finally did. Each gnome is either from my original basic gnome design or a spin off of the basic gnome so they fit the character they're meant to protray.
My favorite piece is the Knight - a gnome with a toothpick hobby horse.
No one aside myself, and maybe my sister Kayla, has any real idea how much work goes into each gnome. Sculpting them to be whimsical and yet durable comes with practice. As of today, I've sculpted over 105 gnomes since spring! The head-against-a-brick-wall part comes with the painting. I could use colored clay, but the colors just never come out as vibrant. Polymer clay usually dulls and darkens slightly once cured. This can be corrected with a good sanding, buffing and polish. Imagine doing that to 32 2 inch gnomes complete with tiny noses, arms, hands and feet! No thank you. I use a good quality acrylic to paint each and every piece one by one.

The painting takes forever. Even with high quality artist paints, each color needs to be painted at least twice. It's tedious and attention to detail is tough to keep as you avoid getting paint on the flesh toned areas or finger prints on the hats. I made 3 gnomes separate from this chess set to have my sister paint. She's always looking for ways to help me out. :) I think she had enough of painting gnomes after the first one took her a couple of hours to complete. They look so harmless!

The board for this particular chess set also took quite a few layers of paint. I wanted it to be garden themed, so I painted green and brown "grass and dirt" squares. I separated the squares with vines and dotted the board with tiny mutlicolored flowers.


  1. More awesomeness from you talented hands!

  2. Kibbles N' Bits9/20/11, 8:04 PM

    This is one of my favorite pieces yet.... even though you kicked my butt with it when we played a round ^_^. And I think I'll continue to leave the painting to you and I'll stick with something less tedious, like rocket science!!!!!! I admire your patience!!! hahahahaha. LOVE THIS CHESS SET

  3. This is truly a wonderful idea, and the production is top-notch! Have you ever thought about developing this as a commercial product? It would be a welcome addition to any hobbyist, games, or toy store!

  4. Thanks, Chase! I enjoy making them and am proud of my original design. I made another set just recently (this one being sold long ago) and changed the hobby horse to a hobby unicorn for the knights. Even cooler!

    I haven't looked into a commercial industry for them outside my own personal sales, but that's something I'll investigate. :)