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‘Gnomist’ donates magical tree in honor of Overland Park family

Robyn Frampton, the Overland Park “Gnomist,” donated this memorial tree honoring Allie Fisher to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Robyn Frampton, the Overland Park “Gnomist,” donated this memorial tree honoring Allie Fisher to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Facebook

The generous spirit of the Overland Park “Gnomist” lives on — 1,000 miles from where she first created her intricate fairy houses.

Robyn Frampton, the woodworker who inspired a documentary with her creations along Tomahawk Creek Trail in 2013, donated an 8-foot-tall interactive fairy tree this week to a children’s hospital in her new home of Utah. The donation was made in partnership with Team Little Owl, a fund created in memory of Allie Fisher, an Overland Park girl who died with brain cancer at age 3.

Allie’s mother, Kelly Fisher, found solace in Frampton’s tiny houses along Tomahawk Creek. After Fisher left a note for the anonymous gnomist about her late daughter, Frampton created a door for Allie — “Little Owl” — in the “Firefly Forest,” which sparked a connection between the two women.

“The story didn’t end for Robyn after our paths crossed. She has the most giving heart I’ve ever met,” said Fisher. “My whole interaction with Robyn and the trail and the gnomist has just been so healing for my family.”

A plaque by the new tree reads, “It is because of Robyn’s continued compassion that this tree is donated in Allie’s memory. … May there be a day when no child or family has to suffer such a fate.”

Frampton, who now lives in Saratoga Springs, outside Salt Lake City, found the dead tree stump and converted it into a multihouse dwelling with elaborate spiral staircases, carved doors, stained glass windows and gnome-sized furnishings for patients and families to enjoy at Primary Children’s Hospital. There’s a mailbox where patients can place notes to the secretive gnomes who live there.

She worked on the project for two years as a way to continue the creative process begun in Overland Park. About six months in she decided to dedicate the tree in Allie’s memory after reconnecting with Fisher and her family.

“We talked about how this would be a great opportunity to honor Allie and bring a lot of hope to kids,” Frampton said. “I have personal history with Primary Children’s Hospital, and I thought, if I’m going to do this tree, it needs to have a home. It was the obvious choice.”

Fisher, husband Kyle and older daughter Evelyn attended the ribbon-cutting in Salt Lake City on Monday. Evelyn cut the ribbon herself.

The children’s hospital was the perfect location for the tree, Fisher said, to give young patients an escape from their hardships. She remembered Allie’s joy from activities like bingo, riding the train and viewing the stars in the rotunda at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“What they’ve given us is beyond words,” Fisher said. “It was just bringing hope and healing to a wider audience, so installing it in a children’s hospital is so appropriate. We hope it will bring healing to others.”

How to help

Team Little Owl will host a garage sale, Allie’s Sale, Oct. 6-8. To donate raffle items, email hoot@teamlittleowl.org. All proceeds will go to the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation. The garage sale will be at Valley View United Methodist Church, 8412 W. 95th St., in Overland Park.

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