Elf House is small but offers plenty of park waterside appeal

Artist Jerry Carlson poses with the classic Icelandic-model elf home he not too long ago mounted at Purgatory Creek Park. Image courtesy of Jerry Carlson

Artist Jerry Carlson hopes a blend of curiosity and delight stops people today in their tracks as they appear across his Elf Property alongside the Purgatory Creek Park path in Eden Prairie.

There is one thing whimsical about Carlson’s very small construction that crouches reduced to the ground throughout the water from the park. Amid the wetlands and the trees, this is the perfect purely natural environment for an immersive artwork show. 

Carlson has a straightforward motive for its creation. “I hope it presents men and women some thing to smile about,” he claimed.

The Elf Property

Carlson’s conventional Icelandic-model Elf Home has taken up home along the park trail considering that late Might. 


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Hailing from Lindstrom, about an hour north of Eden Prairie, Carlson operates as an unexpected emergency health-related technician. Woodworking is his pastime and his enthusiasm, nevertheless.

 “It’s kind of a way for me to get relaxed and have a thing enjoyable to do,” he reported.

He designed the Elf Dwelling utilizing reclaimed wood from a pine tree that experienced blown above and secondhand resources.

There are photo voltaic lights inside, offering the property a bit of a glow at night time. It also functions a tiny mailbox, must individuals want to leave letters for the elves.


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“They said Memorial Day was quite active above there, so ideally I have a whole lot of mail,” he mentioned.

The watch of the Elf Home from across the water. Photograph by Stuart Sudak

In Iceland, according to Carlson, the elves are known as the Huldufolk. He mentioned the Huldufolk are rumored to grant wishes to human beings who check with politely (leaving treats for them assists). Quite a few Icelanders make elaborate residences for any nearby elves. 

Having said that, individuals who tease the elves could possibly uncover by themselves victims of a horrible trick, these as a troll booger in their mattress. In Iceland, small children are cautioned by no means to throw rocks mainly because they may accidentally hit an elf.

Whilst setting up the property, Carlson claimed he had some supportive reactions from passersby. 

“There had been two elderly girls who arrived up and asked, ‘What is this all about?’” he reported. “I defined to them. They said ‘Oh, I’m so joyful I stopped. Now I can carry my grandkids up here.’”

City’s public art initiative

The Elf House is aspect of the Town of Eden Prairie’s rotating community art initiative.

That was initially funded by a grant from the Nationwide Endowment for the Arts as a rotating sculpture venture. 

Lori Brink, the city’s recreation expert services supervisor, stated the initiative is now open to all types of general public artwork mediums. Some proposals have ended up staying long term instead than rotating.  

“With the Elf House in certain, we wished to create curiosity by inserting it in check out from throughout the water – hoping individuals would surprise about it and check out the trails to check out it,” Brink stated. “Right now we’re in the curiosity stage, with ideas for social media engagement in the coming months.”

She said the Elf Home is on financial loan from Carlson for a yr, “but never be astonished if it pops up in a new area in Eden Prairie for every time!”

The Will Ferrell connection

Two a long time ago, Carlson obtained the strategy to make elf houses after seeing a Will Ferrell film on Netflix. 

That 2020 movie is a comedy titled “Eurovision Song Contest: The Tale of Fireplace Saga.” It centers on two aspiring musicians (performed by Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) presented an chance to symbolize their state – Iceland – at the world’s most significant track opposition.

One particular of the most important figures goes to a tiny red elf home created into a hillside to check with for enable in receiving into the contest. 

“My spouse observed the dwelling and stated, ‘Oh, I like that.’ So I developed just one for her birthday,” Carlson said. “It’s sitting in my yard ideal now with a koi tank and a tulip backyard driving it. She stated, ‘Other individuals have to see this,’ encouraging me to build a person for the (Artwork Shanty Assignments pageant on Lake Harriet final wintertime). Which is in which it all started off.”

His spouse, Rachel Coyne, commenced seeking for added opportunities to screen Carlson’s newfound techniques in earning elf properties. Which is when they realized of Eden Prairie’s rotating artist collection.

Carlson desires to construct more elf residences. So much, he’s manufactured five. Since of his work schedule, he mentioned it normally takes about 40 times to construct one dwelling.

He’s making one particular utilizing reclaimed oak for Camp Ojiketa, a former Camp Fireplace Girls camp now a regional park owned and managed by the community local community, Chisago Metropolis.

“I’m in the approach of placing my logs out on the lawn and carrying out the layout for them,” Carlson said. “Hopefully, I’ll check out to get a grant and go to a park service conference in the county and place them on diverse trails all around (Chisago County).”

Carlson has not been to Iceland but would like to sometime. He applied for a grant to go there and study about the lifestyle of the hillside homes. 

“I submitted that this is what I do in Minnesota,” he reported. “I introduced a section of Scandinavia back below, and ideally, I can get a grant to go about there. They have tradition courses so you go to the hillsides and they lecture on the hills and some of the folklore that is there.”

When setting up his Elf Household alongside the Purgatory Creek Path park very last month, Lindstrom artist Jerry Carlson (left) said he obtained a lot of supportive reactions from passersby. Image courtesy of Jerry Carlson

A lot of smiles

A close friend brought her young son to see the dwelling, and he was mesmerized. 

“She took photographs of him with it,” he reported. “He was smiling, and searching in the home windows, stating he observed stuff that definitely was not in there.”

That’s exactly why he constructed the Elf Dwelling. Carlson would like to deliver pleasure to folks of all ages, even for just a second. (At the very least from a risk-free distance his elf properties are not produced for climbing.)

It looks to be building very the impression. A image of the Elf Dwelling was posted in a Fb group named Quirky Minnesota Locations.

“When I was constructing it, a woman walked up to me and claimed, ‘Oh, I desired this in my lifetime suitable now,’” he recalled. “It was so good. This is what the entire world demands. We sat and talked about what she was heading by way of for a whilst. It was pretty great to listen to that from her.”

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