Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Troll made out of ?
Trolls are made from two basic materials, a wooden base (usually Tulip Poplar) and rope fibers.
There are two kinds of rope fiber; sisal for the body hair (mainly just for the Albinos now)
and jute for mustache, eyebrows, hands, and tails.
The natural sisal fiber (a very strong fiber), which comes from the agave sisalana plant,
will vary from white to yellow in color. And the more "fluffy" jute fiber, which is more delicate
and is naturally a light brown. The fibers are attached to the wooden base using staples and glues.
The Troll is then dyed appropriate color (except Albinos!), allowed to dry, and then combed...
and given a haircut. The Troll then comes to life when you create its face and decorate its
topknot ( hair/head piece) and troll body with assorted nuts, cones, seeds, and many
other natural materials that we are able to find in the mountain forests that surround our studio.
The original Trolls were made by unbraiding a jute rope, then gluing the curly strands over an
old Christmas Tree stump.
How long does it take to make a Troll ?
Because of wood curing, and the gluing and dyeing processes, it is pretty much
a 5 day cycle, start to finish, once all the various "Troll parts" are ready.
All work is done by hand with more time devoted to making larger Trolls, as
you would expect.
What kind of troll do I have?
Most trolls have an ID tag in their tail, bottom of base, or elsewhere. This will give you the proper identification. We also provide with each troll a Troll Handbook which will help with this and other questions.
The handbook includes:
Field Guide to Identification
Troll Grooming Guide
I have a Troll that I can't find in the Field Guide, what kind is it?
If you have picked up an older troll somewhere it is possible that it has missing parts.
Or if complete it is very likely you have a regular or original style Troll. This follows the original
design that Ken used to accompany his storytelling. Some have called them the
workers.....the ones who accomplish great tasks while you're not paying close
attention. They come in 7 sizes: 5", 8",12",16",30", and 60" tall
How do you pronounce the family name Arensbak?
In English it is usually pronounced....'arns bock with the emphasis on the first syllable. As the children were growing up
their young friends would simply pronounce it "Orange Box". Ken and Neta's full names are:
Ken (Knud) Erik Arensbak, Neta (Agnete) Elizabeth Arensbak.
What is the difference between the male and female Trolls?
The easiest way is to look at it's face...females have only eyebrows (2 wisps
of jute fiber around the eyes), but no mustache! Males have eyebrows too, as well as a mustache
(2 larger wisps of jute fiber protruding, of course, from his prominent nose).
Aren't Trolls supposed to be dim-witted and evil?
There are many stories told about Trolls. For over a thousand years, different countries
have each had their own versions of the ancient Troll legends. Most stories were not
written down on paper, but had been passed down through the generations by telling
these tales at small gatherings of family and friends. So the folk tales would change
over the years and also differ from region to region. Some of these tales were eventually
recorded and the translations can be found in a variety of books on this subject.
There you will find many different types of Trolls described, as well as a good variety of
personal traits and appearances. In some stories, mostly from Norway, Trolls were
sometimes described as ugly, dim-witted and mean. But there are a lot of stories from
other countries such as Sweden and Denmark, which tell about Trolls that were wise,
kind and helpful...especially to animals and deserving humans.
I have an older Troll...
what is the best way to clean or replace missing parts?
You can remove the accumulated dust by blowing compressed air (a spray can that it used for
computers will often work), or by carefully vacuuming after a light brushing. Troll body hair can
be lightly combed with hair brush and then clipped/trimmed with scissors. If something comes loose
items like nuts, cones, seeds, etc., it can easily and quickly be re-glued using a hot melt glue gun,
or you can use a variety of other slower curing glues like Elmer's white glue, model cement, or epoxy.
Finished decorations can then be protected by spraying a Pledge type furniture spray wax, a
clear acrylic spray, or even regular hairspray. This can also make less visible any of the dust that you
were not able to remove. The sun over time will cause some fading, especially in the Albino Trolls.
30"and 60" Trolls have noses made from dried gourds. If these break you can sometimes
glue the pieces back together, or if no luck then a replacement can be found at places such
as craft supply stores or in the Troll Repair section of our catalog.
On your logo are the words, Robur Animi. What do they mean?
It is Latin for "strength with wisdom".
What is a group of trolls called?
We call them a "clump"
What is the largest Troll you've ever made?
The largest is 10' tall x 4' wide...had to make him outside because he wouldn't fit through the door!
Where do you make all of your Trolls ?
Do you allow visitors?
We make all of our Trolls in our Troll "factory" studio, which sits on a mountain top bordering and
overlooking the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We are about 15 miles east of Gatlinburg,
Tennessee, a little ways off of Hwy. 321. There are no road signs to direct you to our studio,
but you are most welcome to stop by.... just click here for tour information and directions.
Who does all your drawings?
Almost all of our artwork, from the annual Christmas card to the label on
each box, was drawn by Ken with intricate detail. After his passing (1997),
we have handed over this important task to various talented family members.
(daughter Vivi drew the new Trolls) We plan to carry on with our illustrative
traditions, but fully realize it will be a hard act to follow.
What is the best way to contact you?
Our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Via phone: 423-487-2537 or Toll-Free at 800-951-2537
Five Arts Studio
150 Troll Mountain Way
Cosby, TN 37722