Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to ‘Fous du Galet’. She is hooked on artistically painting rocks and hiding them for others to find. The goal is to spread love and joy with a simple act of creativity. A whole new world opened up to me! Apparently, it is an international movement which has already existed for quite some years. You might know it as ‘happy rocks’ or ‘happy stones’. And it’s fun for both the creator and the finder. Hiding your rocks might give you news about who found it. And finding a rock allows you to re-hide it or keep it for yourself.
It starts with collecting suitable rocks. You’ll want them to be smooth and not too small or too big. We have loads of places around us where you can collect them, but I’m sure you’ll find good rocks near you. I like going to the pebbled beach of Roquebrun. However, I collect stones whenever I see them. This results in bulging pockets every time we hike, as I, most of the time, forget to bring a separate bag. Needless to say that I have a huge collection of stones awaiting my spur of creativity. My friend suggested joining the Fous du Galet Facebook group (both regional and national). In France, they are quite active. The group provides you with tips about the best materials to use to create your art, inspiration for designs, challenges, and more. And you can upload your own creations and tell the community where you have hidden them.
The next step is decorating the stones with paint or acrylic markers, not permanent ones. The Rolls Royce of all paint markers is by Posca. But these are rather expensive, and since I’m a newbie, I buy mine at Action. I do have a few Posca ones, and I do notice the difference in quality. You can draw whatever you feel like, and if you need inspiration, just look on the internet. Search for ‘happy rocks’ or the French ‘galet peints’ and you will get loads of ideas! I usually paint one part of the stone and put some text on the back saying that if you find it, you can keep it or help it travel further. When you’re done decorating, I suggest varnishing the stone to protect it. You can do so with varnish in a bottle or spray; I put on two or three layers.
Since I’m painting stones, the twins join me now and then. It’s such a fun activity, every part of it! The last step is hiding the creations, which gives a boost to the hikes we do (like the Chemin des Légendes et le Sentier des Mille Marches). When I think of bringing some stones (I still often forget…), we hide one every one or two kilometres (depending on the length of the hike). If you have joined the Facebook group, you can add the hashtag #fousdugalet and the number of your department on the back. Also, you can upload your pictures of the hidden rocks (an overview and close-up of the hiding spot) and mention the hike’s place and/or name. This way, you might get news of the lucky finder and hear if the rock will travel the world or has found a new home.