Rocking the Southern Highlands
Disclaimer: the reading of this blog and partaking in this activity may be life changing. You may find yourself with rocks on your knee, posca pens in hand even when there are no children in sight. You’ve been warned – it’s addictive!
Rock 'dropping' and 'finding' is a phenomenon that takes place all over the world. Recently it’s taken off in Australia, and each state has their own Facebook page. NSW Rocks has almost 18,000 likes, with loads of active ‘rockies’ right here in the Highlands. With school holidays around the corner, we figured it's the perfect time to get rocking, so we checked in with local and active rockie Eloise to see what it's all about.
So, what is it?
People (kids, teenagers and adults - if you can hold a pen or a brush there is no one too young or too old!) paint rocks and hide them for others to find. Once found, the finder gets the choice to either re-hide the rock or keep it. The hope is that you will then get involved yourself, and paint a few (or a few hundred!). In a nutshell, it’s a big game of hide and seek that involves being active and letting your creativity shine!
Why is it so brilliant?
Firstly, it gets the kids out of ‘zombie technology world’ and out into our beautiful outdoors! The process of rock decorating develops creativity, as well as experience and practice with a variety of art mediums. And lastly (but certainly not to be overlooked) the simple act of kindness, painting a rock for a stranger’s enjoyment is priceless.
“So this sounds great, but what do I actually do to get started?” I hear you ask!!
Well…Whether you want to ‘find’ or ‘drop’, your first step is to head to the NSW Facebook page. Then...
Collect Your Rocks For Decorating
Basically you are looking for smooth, unpolished rocks of any shape or size.
My first rocks came from my nan’s back yard, but then I needed to source my own. I did find a few (the kids I nanny are great at keeping their eyes peeled for rocks!), but have found buying them is the most efficient way.
Bunnings Warehouse sell various sized bags (in the last row of the garden centre).
Gubbins Landscape Supplies have smaller and larger rocks in piles you can rummage through and choose the shape and size you need.
Prep Your Rocks
This comes down to preference. You can choose to simply wash and dry them, or you can add a primer/base coat. Bunning’s Warehouse has a good selection of primers.
Decorate Your Rocks
There are two main methods used for decorating rocks:
1. Posca Pens (available at Cameron’s Newsagents) are great for more detailed art, outlining and writing.
2. Acrylic paint (available at Zap) is good for backgrounds and larger art, although fine brushes (also available at Zap) can add finer details if you or your child have good brush skills.
The list of possibilities is endless, but here are some other ideas:
And of course Pinterest is always such a great source for gathering inspiration.
If you chose to add embellishments (glitter, googly eyes etc) please make sure they are glued on effectively. If these parts fall off they can harm wildlife.
Label Your Rocks
On the back of your rock write, “NSW ROCKS”, the Facebook symbol or word, and your postcode.
Seal Your Rocks
Don’t miss this step because you’re eager to hide your art! This will help them last against the elements. Bunning’s Warehouse has a selection of products you can seal your rock with. I like to use a clear gloss spray, but matte has a lovely ‘natural’ effect also.
Dropping Your Rocks
Decide on a location and get hiding! It’s your choice if you want to hide “sneakily” or put the rocks in plain view. You can decide to hide in a popular play area, or a quieter, less busy destination.
There are only 2 rules:
1. You can’t hide your rocks on the grass (it can become a hazard if not found and the grass gets mowed)
2. You can’t hide on private property without permission.
Post About Your Rocks
Get onto the NSW Rocks Facebook page and post a photo of your rocks.
Post the place and suburb you dropped your rocks, and include any clues you’d like to.
“ROCK DROP - Bradman Oval at Bowral, 2576. Rocks hidden around the museum.”
“ROCK DROP - Berrima Park, Berrima. Clue: check the trees!”
“ROCK DROP - Leighton Gardens, Moss Vale 2577.”
You may find a rock by chance, or you may go to an area specifically because you’ve seen a post on the Facebook page.
When you find a rock, you have the choice to keep it or re-hide it. Either way, don’t forget to post about it to the Facebook page!
“ROCK FOUND! We found this rock on Cherry Tree Walk in Bowral. We’ve decided to keep it because we love it so much!”
“ROCK RE-DROP. I found this rock at Lake Alexandra, Mittagong and I have just re-dropped it in Robins Drive Park, East Bowral.”
So whether it’s you or your child, whether your art is simple or detailed, whether you paint 1 or 101 give it a try, it's so much fun and I promise it will become addictive.