Gnomes at Home

250 plaster cast gnomes
portrait of the artist with the boxes
coloured boxes with text saying handle with care

In July and August 2020, the Entelechy Arts team with our friends from the Albany are distributing 250 gifts to isolated older people living across south east London.

Gnomes at Home is an in-the-palm-of-your-hand, tiny garden initiative designed for windowsills and ledges. Intended as a creative ‘conversation starter’, this is an opportunity for some of the people who have been most marginalised through Covid-19 lockdown to re-connect to one another and the natural world. It provides a nuanced sense of community, helping Entelechy Arts and the Albany further examine the power of small gestures and how we frame the language and landscapes of care.

Gnomes at Home arrives in a box. Each one is hand-delivered and the recipient is told: ‘this is one of 250 – they started all together, it’s now gifted to you, and we look forward to a time when all the gnomes will re-unite (with their human owners!) for a celebration.’

The box contains an unpainted, hand-cast gnome; brush pens; a crowd-sourced succulent plant; stamped postcard and writing prompt; and, a letter from the Meet Me on the Radio.

Local business and people from all over London have contributed to the initiative, many sending in rooted cuttings of succulents together with stories about their relationship with the plants.

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced our landscapes of personal interactions. Gnomes at Home is designed to provide isolated older people and those shielding, with multi-sensory activity, encouraging participants to decorate and personalise a small garden gnome and to look after a small succulent planting/cutting. In turn, recipients can send stories, photographs and memories to the Albany in Deptford to be shared online or read out on the weekly radio show, Meet Me on the Radio.

The boxes also contain an invitation for people to join our expanding programmes of remote creative clusters. Together with our partners the Albany we now have a remote programme  – mostly held by phone – of theatre, singing, knitting and poetry clusters. We have plans to further develop this model for people living in the Downham, New Cross and Deptford neighbourhoods of Lewisham.

Gnomes at Home boxes have been distributed to people living in residential care homes, sheltered housing schemes, people in receipt of domiciliary care and individuals living at home who have been referred to us by the local authority, health services and local voluntary sector partners. It is the first in a two-part series of care packages. Volume Two, to be distributed in September 2020, will be designed for older people living with complex disabilities and dementia.

If you know someone who lives in Lewisham and could be a recipient of our next edition, let us know: Click Here

About Gnomes at Home

Gnomes at Home is co-produced by Entelechy Arts and the Albany.

Designer and producer: Allison Walker

Creative support: Malcolm Buchanan-Dick

Pixel Commission artist: James Norton

Social Media:

@entelechyarts @The AlbanySE8


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