Shuswap breast cancer patient finds joy in hiding painted rocks

Blind Bay resident’s art project sees work shared world over

A Blind Bay woman being treated for breast cancer has found joy in hiding painted rocks throughout the Shuswap for others to find, and seeing those rocks re-hidden world over.

Last year Constance Huls was forced into an early retirement after she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. With the treatment leaving her too tired to work, she found herself with more time on her hands than she knew what to do with. To alleviate the boredom, she took up creating various arts and crafts. After filling her house with dream catchers, she realized the imminent space problem and had to change crafts. One day she saw painted rocks being picked up and photos posted of them on the internet.

Read more: Salmon Arm Arts Centre top contender for solar demonstration site

Read more: Art on the Avenue returns to Kelowna

Inspired, Huls started painting rocks of her own and created the Facebook page Shuswap Kindness Rocks. With the help of her husband, they drive around the Shuswap and hide the colourful stones in parks, beaches and other public places for people to find.

“Being that I have stage four cancer, I’m in treatment and sometimes I don’t have energy, so its nice that I can do this whenever I want,” Huls said.

The stones are gathering no moss either. Huls Facebook page is filled with people finding her artwork throughout the Shuswap, and as far away as Australia. The reason for the stones rolling so far from the Shuswap is due to the message Huls writes in black paint on the back of them. Each stone suggests the finder take a photo with the rock and tag the Shuswap Kindness Rocks Facebook page. Also written is the phrase, “keep or re-hide.” Some people have taken the re-hide suggestion to new levels by taking the rocks with them on their vacations.

“They’re all different and they’re all different sizes, and some are really kind of small and you can just tuck it in your luggage. I didn’t expect people would do it but I’m pleased they are,” Huls said.

After a year of painting, Huls has created more than 500 colorful stones. With no artistic background to speak of, she started out simple and gradually learned from the internet and increased the complexity of the designs.

“I try to look usually for something that’s bright because it will be more noticeable and just pretty. If I think it looks pretty and I think I might be capable of doing it I am going to give it a try,” she said.

Read more: Call for Indigenous art for Okanagan lakeshore

Read more: Art gallery exhibition features work of youth artists

Along with giving her something she can do while recovering from her treatment, Huls enjoys seeing the rocks again when they are posted to her Facebook page.

“I love to see the people who post the rocks and their smiles and I like now that there are other people out there who are starting to paint rocks too and tag Shuswap Kindness Rocks,” she said.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Constance Huls often includes messages like “you are amazing” or “joy” on the backs of the rocks she paints. Here she paints “be kind” as the finishing touch on another stone at her home in Blind Bay on Wednesday, August 7. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Constance Huls has painted over 500 rocks, learning new art techniques from the internet. Here she puts the final touches on another stone at her home in Blind Bay on Wednesday, August 7. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Ministry investigating need for highway barriers between Summerland and Peachland

Petition to install barriers garners nearly 15,000 signatures in just days

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

Summerland Steam lose twice in Junior B hockey action

Next action for Junior B hockey team is on Friday, Jan. 17 in Summerland

Summerland drama students to stage Matilda

Story by Roald Dahl will be presented at Centre Stage Theatre in February

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Volunteer spends hundreds of hours restoring piece of railway history

Revelstoke Railway Museum now home to an authentic Kalamazzo No. 2 Section Handcar

Future of Penticton francophone school secured following funding announcement

$11.5M in funding means École Entre-lacs now independently owned and operated

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

City of Vernon to redirect reclaimed water into Okanagan Lake

MacKay Reservoir nears capacity; city to reflow water into lake near Kin Beach

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Man accused in Kamloops murder claims woman died during rough sex

A Fraser Valley man stands trial for first-degree murder in connection with the 2016 death of a woman

Most Read