A group of creative families in Scone have discovered the perfect way to prevent social isolation and encourage each other to enjoy their outdoor exercise – by playing hide and seek with colourful, painted stones.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you may already have found an example of the artistic trend that has gained popularity across the world - where people paint stones, leave them for others to discover and then share their finds on social media.
The Facebook group Stones of Scone was established two years ago, inspired by a visit to Belladrum where painting and hiding stones around the festival site was a popular family activity.
“Stones of Destiny would have been the perfect name for our group,” says founder Linda Allan. “However, these stones often travel far and wide when they are rehidden, so we needed to let people know where they came from.”
Scone families have made good use of time at home to create and hide beautiful works of art around the village, bringing a smile to those who find them while on their daily exercise.The group began with a small batch of painted rocks hidden around Scone Park in July 2018. The early designs had the group name written on the reverse so that people could connect with the page on Facebook and share that they had found them.
Word soon spread, and the group now has over 300 members. Stones can now be found in many other scenic spots throughout the village, such as Quarrymill, Stormont Woods and the Fairy Woods.
Activity has surged during the lockdown period, as a boost to morale and an excuse to get out in the fresh air. It’s the perfect activity to keep kids busy, and it’s free! Scone families have made good use of time at home to create and hide beautiful works of art around the village, bringing a smile to those who find them while on their daily exercise.
Currently, there are some guidelines in place to ensure that the stones are spreading positivity and not germs:
“Stones of Scone has proved to be a great way to connect with others in the village, especially at the moment when everyone is feeling isolated,” explains Linda.
Stones of Scone has proved to be a great way to connect with others in the village, especially at the moment when everyone is feeling isolated“Spending time being creative is great for mental health, and the thrill of hiding a stone, or the potential of finding one, is a great incentive to explore our beautiful village.”
“I also love how keen people have been get involved and contribute ideas. We’ve seen 26 rainbow stones hidden as part of the 2.6 fundraising challenge, and the latest project is to start a Lockdown Caterpillar of stones along the railings at RDM School. There’s lots of enthusiasm to see how long we can make it!”
Inspired to join in, or start your own group? Here’s some tips from Stones of Scone to get you started:
Step 1: Find a nice stone.
Maybe one with an interesting shape or texture, big enough to write and draw on.
Step 2: Paint or draw a design on your stone.
Sharpies and acrylic paint work well and won’t wash off if your stone gets wet. Some members like to use acrylic POSCA pens and spray a quick coat of clear varnish. If you have joined one of your local painted rock groups, you could ask them to post a picture to the group using its hashtag, or you could always come up with your very own hashtag.
Step 3: Hide your stone somewhere
Find the perfect hiding place. You don’t want to leave it anywhere dangerous like the middle of a road or pavement, or where a lawnmower will eat it! Somewhere not too obvious – you don’t want it to be found the second you put it down. If you hide it too well though, no-one will find it!
Step 4: Find other stones
It’s up to you if you choose to collect the stones you find or re-hide them for others. If you choose to keep them, make sure you replace them with one you’ve painted so that the game continues.
We loved the photographs from the Stones of Scone group so much that we made a Lockdown Stones of Scone Picture Gallery over on Small City Galleries.
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