By Hannah Cross
Since the creation of the Blaine/Birch Bay Rocks Facebook group, residents of Blaine and Birch Bay have been placing brightly decorated rocks that community members can find in local areas.
The group’s creator and original administrator, Victoria Cooper, said she started the group with inspiration from her youngest daughter, Jordyn. “We would go on little family walks, hikes, days at the beach, days at the park and different family activities and she would find these painted rocks from different parts of Washington,” she said.
Cooper said it would brighten his family’s day when they find these rocks, so they started collecting each one. It was because of the joy it brought her and her family that Cooper said he created a Facebook group for the Blaine and Birch Bay area in September 2016 after seeing similar groups in other places. other communities.
“It took a little while to get the group started, but we’re almost 1,000 members now and I’m just shocked and in love with the little community we’ve created,” Cooper said.
Macinda James joined the group in the summer of 2017. Through her passion for stone painting, she became a facilitator and then eventually second administrator.
“This group is a way to hang out and meet amazing people,” James said. “We’re always looking for more people to join, no matter what type of artist you are.”
James said the band started engaging in community outreach projects such as painting rocks to support community events. Rocks can also be found in community rock boxes at the Beachwood General Grocery Store, The C Shop, and Blaine Marina.
“Our Halloween trick-or-treat event is widely enjoyed by community members of all ages,” she said. “People decorate the rocks with Halloween themes and then pass them out as treats.”
Jake Willmorth joined the group last summer. “The first thing that piqued my interest was when I went for a walk after lunch with my family and we noticed a rock painted with the band’s name on the back, then we noticed another one and decided to look into it,” he said.
Willmorth said he thinks the community is a great outlet for artwork and to make someone happy. “Sitting a few hours here and there is worth the reaction images I’ve seen for some of my pebbles.
Willmorth said his wife and son will gather around the table to paint rocks with him and will walk as a family to hide and chase rocks from other artists. “Styles vary from inspirational quotes, landscapes, silly illustrated puns and cartoon characters.”
Ricky MacWilliams joined at the start of the pandemic in 2020. “It all started when I found a painted stone at The C Shop and thought that was cool,” he said. “A friend of my wife told me about Blaine Rocks/Birch Bay so I checked it out and joined.”
MacWilliams said his work wasn’t great at first, but with practice and paint pens, his work has improved since his debut.
“We also run monthly challenges usually based on a theme and that month’s holiday,” he said. “The admin spins a computer wheel and someone wins a grand prize.”
Renee Gugich joined the group in February 2021 after her daughter, Lindsay, saw a post on Facebook and they have both been searching and painting ever since.
“Cave painting is a fun, addictive and stress-busting hobby,” she said. “Searching and hiding painted rocks also has another benefit – exercise.” Gugich said she walked up to four miles hiding and searching.
James encourages people inside and outside the community to get involved with the group by searching “Blaine/Birch Bay Rocks” on Facebook to request access to the private group.
She said the group’s goal is to spread joy and connect with the community. “You never know when you need to find something that will make you smile.”