Highs and Lows. Originally Posted 1.11.’14
I must admit, I’m feeling a little disheartened with everything in these last twenty four hours. The big push for Halloween was a mammoth task. I churned out fifty rocks for the children’s parks, plus another fifteen extras on top, and it was heavy going. There is more work that goes into these rocks than most people realise and a friend of WGAR has suggested that I explain the process so people can understand why they sometimes take a little time.
Each rock is selected from our source (permission has been granted to take them as they are a nuisance in their current location) quite carefully as we need specific shapes and sizes for specific jobs. We try to get the smoothest ones possible as they are easier to paint but this is not always possible. Quite often Poppa Painter goes out on our behalf and collects for us because he is a bit of a star.
Each rock then has to be scrubbed so the paint has the best surface to stick to and left to dry thoroughly.
Then comes the base colour painting. We do three coats, sometimes four, leaving each one to dry thoroughly in between and taking time to cut in neatly at the edges. Rocky often helps with this part so I can crack on with other jobs.
Once they are completely dry, I then decide what contrasting colour and design we are doing for that batch, or if it is a big rock, what the message and picture will be, before starting the process. This is the bit that takes time because we want each pebble to look as good as possible before sending it out, so it has to be done properly.
Once this has dried I go over it again and correct any mistakes then leave it to properly dry out. Then comes the message for the top, followed by a coat of varnish. This has to dry out completely before we give it another coat of varnish and leave it overnight to completely set.
The next day I write a code on each pebble and then enter it into the rock registry, with details about each rock such as colour, design, message and date it was made.
Finally we have to stick Facebook and Email labels on the back and cover them with tape which keeps the information safe for about a month outside.
So as you can see, it is definitely not a quick five minute job! I actually really enjoy most of the process (apart from labelling which Rocky does!) which is why I keep doing it, but it is a labour of love and this is why when we received our latest criticisms, I felt a bit saddened by it as so much effort goes in to making people happy.
Back in the beginning when we started, I expected a certain amount of negativity would be levelled at us, but none came. The response was overwhelmingly positive and so recent events have caught me slightly off guard. I know that what we are doing will not appeal to everybody, but our values at Pebble HQ tend towards the live and let live end of the scale, so it was quite a surprise when a couple of people let it be known that they were pretty opposed to what we are doing. Normally I would have taken it on the chin but it came on the same day as several people were disappointed when looking in the parks and finding no pebbles, and sending cross messages to tell me so!
Obviously I don’t want to let anybody down, especially children, but I can only paint a certain amount of pebbles, as hopefully will be understood now I have explained the process in detail. A few people (and I must stress it was a very small minority) had a go at us and it was upsetting. It felt to me like there was suddenly an expectation placed upon us, and something that was supposed to be a pleasant surprise or gift was now being demanded, as if people felt that we owed them… I guess that along with the truly heart warming and wonderful bits of human nature this project has exposed us to, we also must learn how to deal with the slightly less pleasant parts. And also always remember that no matter how you conduct yourself in life, there will always be those who want to ‘p*ss on your firework’ as Poppa Painter said to me this morning!
So yes, there have been a few lows lately, but these come hand in hand with some wonderful highs and beautiful moments, so I would like to end this latest entry on a positive note by listing (in no particular order) our top ten most positive moments so far…
1. Having some stunning pieces of glass art made for us by the extremely talented ‘Tan Glassy Grey,’ in Hayle. As if receiving a present weren’t enough, the lovely lady also hid the parcel for us and sent clues on where to find it so we would know what it was like to be on the receiving end of a treasure hunt. And as I said at the time – you guys are right, it IS exciting 🙂
2. Being contacted by a lovely ‘liker’ who wishes to remain anonymous to be told a tank of diesel had been donated to help keep us on the road.
3. After becoming aware that a pebble had been taken from somebody’s garden in St Agnes, I put an update that I would paint a replacement for whoever put it back, under terms of secrecy, so nobody would know who was responsible. As if by magic, the pebble was returned overnight to its happy owner. I never head from the person who did the good deed, but stand by my promise that if he or she contacts us anonymously through email they will be rewarded.
4. Being contacted out of the blue by Radio Cornwall.
5. Declaring’ Random Act of Kindness Day,’ and hearing all of your lovely stories about the kind things you had done for other people.
6. Being mentioned by our buddy Chaplin Seventy Three, founder of Free Art Friday Truro, during his interview on the Cosmic Art’s Show for Source FM.
7. Stumbling across a little girl playing on the beach with her Daddy and secretly leaving them a rock, only to be contacted by them later in the day.
8. The Griffin family taking their rock to various different locations and sending us photographs.
9. Your wonderful responses to my update last night when I was feeling low and a bit disheartened.
10. Finding out we had forty eight thousand views on our In Loving Memory rock (even if it was in the wrong place) and receiving a lovely email to say thank you from a family member of one of the people tragically lost at sea.
So, as you can see, the good always outweighs the bad and gives us the motivation and encouragement we need to keep calm and rock on.
As Rocky says, ‘Haters Gonna Hate.’ Personally I prefer one of Poppa Painter’s oft used phrases which is rather apt in these circumstances:
‘It is a mistake to deprive people of their grievances.’
Hugest love to you all