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.

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

Tom Clark value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Tom Clark price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Tom Clark forum (7 comments)

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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

►reply: 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!
►reply: 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.
►reply: 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.
►reply: 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?
►reply: Good question! I don't know, but maybe you can ask here: nancycollectibles.com or at the official Cairn Studio website.

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