Begin with a scavenger who loves to walk on the beach or in a park as he searches for treasures. Add a gypsy who adds her creative touch to these treasures, so they become prized possessions. Together Sandy and Mike Ley are bringing smiles to residents and visitors in the Coastal Bend and Colorado.
Currently, Sandy is creating painted Easter themed Kindness Rocks, a craze which began in 2015 in the U.S. and has spread to the U.K., Australia and other countries. Locally there are active groups in Rockport-Fulton and Aransas Pass-Ingleside.
“You might run into them (painted rocks) anywhere – in the grocery store, in a park, a bike path, anywhere,” Mike said. “I thought that’s an interesting idea. You know – spread smiles – and so I started looking and I found a few.”
“When he first started, I was really against it because he used to drive me nuts,” added Sandy. Mike would see a post on Facebook, and he would immediately leave their Colorado home to follow the clues for the hidden rock. Sandy told Mike, “You’re not even enjoying your life because you’re only thinking about going rock hunting.”
So, the scavenger changed his tactics. He asked his creative gypsy to paint one so he could hide it. Sandy said she had tried painting a rock once and she didn’t like what she created.
But she tried POSCA ink pens to draw her art. “When you get the right kind of tools… I started liking it!”
Sandy uses paint pens and brushes, dotting tools and acrylic paints. The finished dry painted rock is then sprayed with clear acrylic to protect it from the weather. Outdoor Mod Podge is used under and over their information tag on the back of each rock.
She uses the internet for ideas and has found Pinterest tutorials very helpful especially for the popular detailed mandala designs.
The gypsy began creating and the scavenger was able to search for others as he found places to leave her Kindness Rocks. Mike joined the Highlands Ranch (Colorado) Rocks group then the Littleton (Colorado) Rocks group.
The back of their rocks have the Facebook group information which they use.
Mike found a sand and gravel retailer close to their Colorado home and began buying five-gallon buckets of rocks which would become Kindness Rocks. With this supply of rocks and the tools she needed, Sandy began creating and Mike began finding the perfect spots to place them. Of course, that meant the scavenger could continue to search for others at the same time.
Some people give a clue on Facebook when they put out a rock. They may post a picture of a store or park where they placed it. Others don’t so you may find one while you just take a walk. Most groups ask anyone who finds a rock to either hide it in a new place or put a new one in its spot. Mike said for every 50 rocks you put out, only one person may put a photo on Facebook to let you know they found one, but he knows whoever finds one is going to smile.
The Leys have found many Kindness Painted Rocks and they have kept some for their personal collection.
The message to a wanderer on this rock was one Mike kept.
Another unusual one was used as a method of advertising by Bahama Bucks’. The business hid only five of the painted rocks then gave clues where they could be found. The person who found one could win a prize listed on the back.
But the rock in their collection which is cherished the most is this one.
The summer of 2018, Mike was walking around a park in Denver as he was needing time to think. It was the day after the doctor told Sandy she had cancer. He found this special rock which they have kept. “We needed that rock that day!”
Maybe you would like to make some unknown person feel better in some small way. If you want to join a local Kindness Rock group, search for Rocks of Rockport-Fulton (#RORF) or Ingleside and Aransas pass (painted) Rocks. Art ROCK-ing Around the World (#ARATW) has many posts with information and ideas for Kindness Rocks.