Dr. Thomas Fetzer Clark, or just Tom Clark, a native of Elizabethtown, North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College in 1949 with a degree in English. He continued his education receiving a Bachelor's in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Theology from University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

He also trained in sculpture at Roberts School of Art in Aberdeen, the Museum School of Art in Boston Massachusetts, and at City and Guilds of London School of Art. Before becoming a professor at Davidson College, he served briefly as a missionary in the Appalachian Mountains.

Tom Clark

Tom Clark & gnomes

Religion played an important role in what he taught and the gnomes which he eventually sculpted to cast a magic spell over the country's collectibles market. Dr. Clark's father went to Davidson, as did other family members. As a matter of fact he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award at Davidson College in 1989, exactly forty years after his father had received his.

"When Professor Tom Clark '49 began sculpturing more than 40 years ago, he dug clay from the creek in the middle of Patterson Fraternity Court on the north side of Davidson's campus. In 1958 Clark had just come to Davidson as an assistant professor of religion. Clark, who eventually became an associate professor, doesn't have time to dig his own clay anymore because his sculpture has led him from what was 'Nothing but a hobby' to what is now 'a big business,' he said." -Connie McLean '80

Dr. Clark left Davidson College in 1985 to devote his time to the Gnome business with Cairn Studio.

"I am a creative person, and sometimes creative people like me don't fit in well in structured organizations like college. For me, it is very satisfying to have people come into my Davidson shop or into a dealer's and pick out a statue because they like it. They're not just coming to see me because they've run out of the permitted class absences for the quarter," Dr. Clark points out with a wry smile.

What really inspired him to sculpture gnomes were drawings in the 1976 bestselling book Gnomes by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet. He happened to come across the Dutch book during the summer of 1978 where he was a storyteller for a boy's camp.

With their antique look, the Woodspirits became very popular among collectors. Among Clark's fans, some of the most famous were former first lady Barbara Bush, actor Bob Newhart, and best-selling author Stephen King. Some avid collectors were even known to collect multiples of the same gnome, but with different paint schemes.

While in his nineties and no longer making gnomes, Tom Clark's art is still a staple in many homes.

Learn more about Tom Clark at Cairn's Studio official website.

13 February 2020

Tom Clark forum

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Comments (24)
Lisa - February 21, 2020
I have three tom clark gnomes I wanna sell franklin 1983 Henson 1984 A1 and michrelo nr. 55 let me know if your interested
Hi Lisa! My house is (unfortunately...) already filled with too much stuff ;-). You could try Craigslist or Ebay?
Nancy - February 17, 2020
I am looking to sell my entire collection. Any suggestions (besides Replacements site)?
I guess eBay, Craigslist or perhaps there are some Facebook groups dedicated to Tom Clark or collectors of gnomes in general.
Vincent - February 15, 2020
How do I obtain a copy to the current "Collector’s Guide"? Also, is there a membership, if so how do I become a member?
I'm afraid the only guide I could find is this one on Amazon from 1986: Cairn Collector's Guide, Volume I. Maybe you can find more info on their official website (see link above in the description).
Lori - February 10, 2020
I have four large Tom Clarke gnomes and considering selling them.. Any idea what they may sell for? O’Hara 2003 (16 1/2” h) Azalea 2003 (14” h)Perennial Santa 2004 (12”h) Woods 2003 (13”h)Thank you!
Pretty difficult to find, especially O'Hara and Azalea. Look here to see if you can find your Woods and Santa for prices.
David - January 21, 2020
Ed, The old addage is "In the Eyes of the Beholder" sets the value. I have collected the Gospel Writer's Series and they are priceless to me. I have both Civil War Soldiers, the same. A direct answer is The US Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and England's Churchill in the sitting positions $300 plus.
Ha great, thanks so much for this. I'll be sure to pass this on to Ed!
Darla - January 3, 2020
what happened to make these so worthless now days did they flood the market? Do you think they will ever have value again? stuck with hundreds :(
No idea if they'll ever have value again, sorry! Maybe sell the most valuable pieces now on eBay?
Ed - December 30, 2019
Which one of his pieces is worth the most?
Hi Ed, I don't know, but if you use the 'sort' function (above the listings on the right) and look at the above list with sold items, you might get an idea.
Samantha - November 28, 2019
I have a large collection of Tom Clark Gnomes (100) and would like to sell. Do you buy?
I'm afraid I already have to much things, haha! But I always suggest eBay or perhaps Craigslist? Also look on Facebook if there are group pages dedicated to gnomes or Tom Clark.
Cher - October 29, 2019
I have a McMan statue who is holding an acorn in his raised hand. I can't find any others like that.???
You mean this one?
Natalie - October 24, 2019
My Mom found a Tom Clark gnome called Our Wedding, but it doesn't look the the colorful version of it, it looks kind of bronze from the picture she sent me. She wants to know if it's a rare one or if it's one of the ones that go for about $25. Thank you!
I found a bronze version of 'Our Wedding' on eBay, priced at $45, but it wasn't sold.
Mike - September 3, 2019
my aunt recently passed and she had over 1500 Tom Clark figures. Lots of gnomes but also historical and religious figures. Any help on how to go about selling these? The collection is in Las Vegasthanks
Sorry, I can't help you much... Some figures are really expensive but most are really cheap. You could try to find out what are the most expensive ones. Sort here on this website to get the 'highest price' Tom Clark figures and see if you can find them in your aunt's collection. Or put the whole collection up on eBay or find someone in Las Vegas who buys these kinds of collections.
Phoebe - August 10, 2019
I have an Enoch 1983, marked 37, signed by Tom Clark in signing in March 1994, also the World War II Soldier 1984, marked 58, signed by Tom Clark at same signing in 1994. I cannot determine the value. Any help appreciated!
Difficult to put price tag on them, if you want to know the value of signed Tom Clark pieces, go to this page for reference: Tom Clark signed. Here you'll find soldiers and here are a few Enochs.
Russell - July 30, 2019
Available:REP - 1987 Edition nr.74 BICK-R - 1981 Edition nr.10 Retired CHEESE - 1981 Edition nr.2 CHASE - 1980 Edition nr.11 HOMER - 1984
Robert - June 26, 2019
I have an Apple Annie and a Ben. Can you give a retail value?
Depends on the edition, take a look on this page for Apple Annie: Apple Annie and for Ben look here: Tom Clark Ben.
Laverne - March 30, 2019
price for 1989 Democratic gnome
Around 25 USD.
Lynn - February 2, 2019
I have Thelma and Yancey whom I love because they remind me of my Mom and Dad 60-70 years ago. I have found a current value for Thelma, but can not find any for Yancey nr.5414. Can you help me?
No idea, but maybe you can ask here.
Chris - January 15, 2019
I have a farmer on a red tractor, a wife on a green tractor, in addition to 3 children all on separate tractors. They are displayed on a pedestal that looks like a tree. I cannot find this series on the internet. Does it have any value?
No idea, sorry... Are you sure they are Tom Clarks?
Teela - June 3, 2018
Need to know value of 4 tclark gnomes MacDonald 81, Assembly Team 39, Harvest 55, and LancwII
Pamela - March 5, 2018
Hi Pamela, I'm not sure, but I found this website which sells gnomes by Tom Clark. I'm pretty sure they know the answer to where you can sell your gnomes: www.knotholestation.com. Good luck!
Cie - December 17, 2017
I have a 1980 Wizard I think he is nr.101, marked with 5 - 1980, TC. He weighs about 51 oz., and is about 7 1/2" tall. I bought him 36 years ago from a store, do not have his COA or original box. Anything you can tell me about him. I have no idea how many were made in this series and if the 5 stands for the 5th one made. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you!
I can't find anything on this number (101), did you mean 110? There is a rare, brown version of a 110 for sale on eBay for 900 USD. Search for: Tom Clark Wizard.
Thelma - October 23, 2017
What is my Skipper 1983 and signed by Dr. Clark 1-28-85 worth on today's market? Thank you so much.
I've seen them going on eBay between 15 and 50 USD but they are difficult to sell right now, a lot of them are unsold.
Cathi - September 15, 2017
I have a Indian Chief approx. 12" tall with "Hollow Horn Bear" signed and with a copyright of 1997 or 1977. It belonged to my late husband, who collected several of Tom Clark's pieces.
Hi Cathi, it's probably from 1987 and is worth around 25-50 USD.
Barbara - January 11, 2015
Where are the dates on the figurines?
Good question! I don't know, but maybe you can ask here: nancycollectibles.com.
Rosie - February 6, 2011
I have a little old lady from Tom Clark #59 Sitting in a chair shelling beans W/a bow oh her lap and at the side Books at her side of picture album