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Ozaukee taps into rock craze PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 18:44

OZ ‘Rocks’ group encourages adults and children alike to find, paint and hide rocks as part of game with few rules that’s sweeping the nation

When Lila McBurney and a co-worker found what they called “a little gem” in the back alley behind Sharbuno Jewelers in downtown Port Washington, little did they know they’d be participating in a new craze that features the painting and planting of rocks.
“I didn’t know anything about this whole thing,” said McBurney, a registered jeweler at Sharbuno Jewelers. “But we thought it was a really cute smiley face so we put it next to our rings display and then put a picture of it on our Facebook page.”
That brought on a bunch of connections from others who participate in the hobby, as the rock found its way to other websites that showcase various hand-painted rocks that have been discovered.
“I think it’s a cute movement, and it’s putting smiles on people’s faces,” McBurney said. “I see that even adults are having fun with it.”
Grafton’s Lisa Hauck is one of them. With fellow mothers Mary Morano and Amanda Borgenhagen, she started a Facebook group page called OZ “Rocks,” the first of its
kind in Ozaukee County.
ROCK LG“It was inspired by ‘Vancouver Rocks,’ which Amanda’s neighbor’s daughter discovered while visiting British Columbia,” Hauck said. “When she got back, they painted a bunch of rocks and planted them around Port Washington and Grafton. That’s how it started.”
That was about a month ago. The Facebook page followed, drawing 1,000 members in just one week, Hauck said.
As of last week, there were more than 1,800, and rock after rock is posted by those who find them. Most feature the group’s signature OZ “Rocks” label on the back, which is sealed so the paint doesn’t bleed.
“When my kids and I started, we went down to the lake and collected more than 100 rocks. On most of them we just painted smiley faces, but now the designs are getting more elaborate,” said Hauck, whose family has now painted more than 200 and on Monday hosted a rock-painting outing at Veterans Park in Grafton. “One of our Facebook administrators is Jami Last, who’s an amazing artist. She painted a picture of a leaf with a ladybug on it. When it’s placed in the grass it looks so realistic that you think it’s a real leaf.”
The biggest rule regarding the game is that there are no rules, Hauck said. Find a rock of any size, paint on it whatever you’d like, and place it out in public for someone else to find. If you find one of your own, you can keep it, replace it with one of your own, or do neither.
Often times, those who make them or find them post online images of the rocks. Some also post hints of where they’ve hidden their rocks.
“My daughter found six painted rocks in Coal Dock Park, so she had fun re-hiding them,” Hauck said. “And we recently went to the (Wisconsin) Dells with about 50 of our OZ ‘Rocks’ and placed them all over. It will be fun to see who finds them and if they post pictures on our Facebook page.”
Popular designs include smiley faces, flowers and turtles, Hauck said.
“Among my favorites was the rock someone found outside Walmart with a bullseye design on it,” Hauck said. “It looked like the Target-store logo. That made me chuckle.”
It’s an example of having fun with choosing a clever placement for a specific rock, she said.
“You see turtle designs on a lot of wooden paths, or flower designs by war memorials,” Hauck said.
Her 9-year-old daughter Taylor Scibby said she enjoys hiding rocks at places like the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve in Port Washington.
“You don’t want to hide them in places where it’s too hard to find them,” she said. “You want them to be found.”
Taylor’s favorite design she’s created was on a tricky triangle-shaped rock.
“I painted a pizza on that one,” she said. “I like painting cool designs.”
The hobby is easy, pure and innocent, so Hauck’s not surprised it has caught on like wildfire.
“It gets the kids being creative and out and about, walking around,” she said. “With so much hate out there in the world, this is something positive and fun for a family. And anyone can do it.”


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 August 2017 18:50