Marilyn Clarke likes to come up with new, unexpected ways to be creative.
She’s made a lot things like garden fountains using concrete, stepping stones with mosaic pieces or fake rocks. Recently, the Courtenay woman, who’d worked in graphic design, started painting rocks in colourful patterns, often with glitter or other items, and containing inspirational or humourous messages. Now, she’s started leaving them around for people she knows or even people she doesn’t know.
“I’ve always been a bit quirky,” she says with a laugh. “I love trying out different artistic things.”
Even though she’d started making them a couple of months back, she hadn’t handed any out until one ended up in her driveway just over a week ago. She started leaving rocks in the yards of friends or neighbours, at stores or in parks, hoping they come as a surprise for the finders. So far, she’s left at least 20 out around the community.
“I popped some around the neighbourhood,” she says. “Some of the people I do know, and they’ve suspected me. Of course, I’ve denied it emphatically.”
Already, she’s seen a couple of posts on Facebook from people she knows wondering about who left the rocks. In these cases, she tried to pick a rock with personal meaning for the person – a rock decorated up as a cat for a neighbour who loves cats and so on. She’s made a “love mouse” and is working on a series of “love bugs.” Another rock she kissed and wrote on it, “I kissed a rock and I liked it.” Many are adorned with colourful flowers or other images, or contain clever puns, often playing on “stone” or “rock.”
She’s hoping to inspire others to do the same, as these are creative objects people can make easily.
“I also thought it’s a great thing for kids to get involved with because it gets them away from their computers, it gets them doing something creative,” she says. “It’s fun to look for them and go around the neighbourhood like they would on Halloween, and pass them out.”
For her, this is her “Kindness Project,” part of a broader movement encouraging people to perform acts of kindness for people they know or even strangers.
The hope for Clarke is to let people experience something a little whimsical, something outside their routine, and maybe even inspire them to spread some joy to others.
“I just thought it such fun, and it gives everybody pleasure to find them,” she says.