Books rock!

Why does Ella Dick­son, 39, from St Al­bans, hide tiny works of art in her lo­cal li­brary?

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

The re­ac­tion was amaz­ing. A fa­mous au­thor even tweeted me!

Rock hunt­ing.

You ei­ther know about it or you don’t. And if you’re a mum with chil­dren a cer­tain age, you prob­a­bly will!

The trend – where peo­ple paint on rocks, then post pho­tos of them on a Face­book group be­fore hid­ing them lo­cally for oth­ers to find – had swept our town.

It’s a fun, creative hobby, and all the lo­cal kids were into it – dis­cov­er­ing colour­ful rocks, post­ing them on­line and hid­ing them again. Or find­ing good stones to paint them­selves.

My boys, Seth, 10, and Jonah, 7, were keen and I’d got the Beaver Scout group I ran in­volved, too.

In July this year,

I got them to paint pat­terns on rocks as a fun ac­tiv­ity.

Watch­ing them all con­cen­trat­ing made me a bit jeal­ous and I wanted a go too!

I’d never re­ally painted be­fore, but as a fan of arts and crafts, I wanted some­thing I could fo­cus on and re­ally take my time with.

So that Au­gust I bought some cheap acrylic paints from an art shop and grabbed some

smooth rocks from my gar­den.

‘Now I just need some­thing to paint,’ I mum­bled.

Then it hit me. I’d al­ways loved read­ing, so why not copy some fa­mous book cov­ers?

I wanted some­thing ev­ery­one would recog­nise, so I dug out my old copy of the first Harry Pot­ter book and got stuck in.

Even though

I was copy­ing the im­age, it was com­plex and in­tri­cate, but I loved ev­ery sec­ond.

As my gen­tle strokes coloured the deep red of the Hog­warts Ex­press, I felt I was in a world of my own.

‘That’s bril­liant,’ said my hus­band An­drew, 40, when I’d fi­nally fin­ished.

My sons were im­pressed, too! Harry Pot­ter quite literally on a philoso­pher’s stone!

So I took a quick snap, up­loaded it to the Face­book group and, once the stone had dried a few days later, I hid it near my lo­cal li­brary.

The com­ments on­line were so en­cour­ag­ing.

I re­ally want to find that! some wrote.

I was so pleased when a lit­tle girl dis­cov­ered it and posted a pic on­line.

So I de­cided to recre­ate more clas­sic book cov­ers on rocks for lo­cals to find.

I painted old favourites like Char­lotte’s Web and Matilda, as well as more mod­ern reads like North­ern Lights and Mr Stink by David Wal­liams.

It’s im­por­tant to give each painted rock a coat of clear var­nish to pro­tect the art­work and to stop any of the paint chem­i­cals dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment where it’s hid­den. That’s why I never use glit­ter or goo­gly eyes ei­ther.

The re­ac­tion was amaz­ing, and Philip Pull­man, the au­thor of North­ern Lights, even tweeted me him­self! Gor­geous! he wrote.

I also painted one of my son’s favourite books, The 13-Storey Tree­house by Andy Grif­fiths, as well as An­drew’s copy of The Hob­bit – much to their de­light. They were quite the hit, and I was happy to take re­quests. But though many have asked, I’d never dream of sell­ing them. It’s just a game any­body can get in­volved in. And be­sides, free rocks are fun!

Our lo­cal li­brar­i­ans are now happy for me to hide my gems on their book­shelves for peo­ple to find.

And I hope it’ll en­cour­age more peo­ple to read, get creative and, above all, sup­port their lo­cal li­brary. Be­cause read­ing rocks!

Read all about it!

Brush job! I’ve got it cov­ered

Lit­tle Neve found my Harry Pot­ter stone

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