(Courtesy Sam Robinson)
(Courtesy Samuel Robinson)

Over the weekend, a group of 10 people created a nine-foot replica of a Jayson Werth gnome at Reagan National Airport using $3,800 worth of canned seafood.

That’s a fun sentence.

Why did they do this? Well, it’s part of Arlington’s annual Canstruction competition, running this year from Nov. 14 through Nov. 22 at the main terminal’s baggage claim. Canstruction competitions, held in about 150 cities, feature large sculptures made out of full cans of food; after the events are over, the food is donated to local hunger relief groups.

Towards the end of the Nats’ regular season, KGD Architecture’s Samuel Robinson — a diehard D.C. sports fan and one of the leaders of a Canstruction team — helped his group decide that a Werth gnome should be their model. Days later, the Nats began hiding Werth gnomes around the city, leading up to the playoff gnomestravaganza.

“We figured it was a good sign,” Robinson noted.

He settled on seafood as his medium by going to Trader Joe’s and choosing the smallest cans he found, in order to put the most detail in the gnome’s face. Seafood cans are small. As the group pointed out in its project description, seafood cans — like Werth — are gluten-free.

Robinson said he spent about a week digitally modeling the sculpture, which has been  named “Gnome-ore Hunger.” About 10 staffers spent six hours building the thing on Friday, using 2,263 cans of seafood. They raised $7,000 for the project, so the unused funds go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center, the local beneficiary.

The group remains hopeful that Werth will visit the sculpture in-person before it’s taken down, noting that this is “a unique opportunity for him to see a 9-foot tall, canned-seafood gnome-age to himself, and to help us bring attention to a good cause.”

“Also, as a lifelong D.C. sports fan, I’m pretty sure me making this gnome is what led to us having such a rough series and the early playoff exit,” Robinson wrote. “So, my bad. Next year I’ll do one of Madison Bumgarner and maybe we’ll have a chance.”

To vote for the Werth gnome as your favorite Canstruction entry, please click here.