Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

It's funny how one act of kindness can produce so many ripples.

I was at a hair salon yesterday where the topic of conversation among all of the employees was how they couldn't believe a 20somthing girl paid for the haircut and tip for an older lady she did not know. The employees were telling their customers every detail about what happened and kept asking, "I wonder why she did it?"

The stylist who had done the hair of the generous gifter said that the gifter knew it the older woman was likely on a limited income. She wanted to do something nice for someone and that older woman looked like a good candidate.

The stylist working on my hair was the one who received the payment and tip from the 20something. She totally got it. She knew that one act of kindness turns into another. She felt the woman who received the generous gift would likely go out and do something kind for another.

How many other people there -- stylists and customers who heard the story -- will also go out and do some random act of kindness? Who knows. Even if none of them do, that one act made a lot of people feel good that day and it made them stop and think for a moment about acts of kindness. Some of them had heard of "random acts of kindness" or "paying it forward", but they associated it with buying someone a coffee or paying the toll for the car behind you on a toll road--something much less expensive than a $32 haircut and an $8 tip.

I haven't had a chance to create and leave much art recently. It has been a hectic few months staging a house for sale, packing up, and moving across the country. As soon as I'm settled in, I'll be back into the art supplies and creating little gifties to leave for people. But, in the meantime, I'll be thinking about random acts of kindness I can do without my art supplies. People have been very generous to me during this stressful time. I really need to start giving back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I am a knitter. I usually knit clothing, but decided to try a pattern for a stuffy that happens to be a flower. I learned some new techniques while I was knitting, but this stuffy isn't something I want for myself and have no one else to give it to. So I tied a Found Art tag to her arm and have her in the backseat of my car, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to give her away.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kid-Friendly Art

Yesterday I had a great time leaving Rocky, my pet rock, for a child to find. I went to my regular knitting group meeting. We meet on Saturday morning at Panera. I've seen a lot of kids at Panera. I hoped Rocky might be "adopted" by a child who would love having him.

I placed Rocky and his Found-Art tag on a table where I could see him from where I was sitting in our knitting group. I was curious to find out who might be attracted to a painted rock sitting in the middle of a table at Panera.

Not long after I put him there, I noticed a group of young girls gathered around the table. A couple were old enough to read, so the younger ones asked on of the older ones to read the tag. I could tell they were trying to determine if this was something they could take. One of the younger ones ran off and returned with her mother.

After reading the tag, the mother thought the intention was for Rocky to make them smile, but they should leave Rocky so he could make someone else smile. She pointed out that they could make some painted rocks like this from rocks they had at home. On one hand, I was pleased that the daughters may make some Found Art of their own, but I really wanted Rocky to have a home. Hearing their conversation made me rethink what I have on my tag. Maybe I need to reword it better to make it more obvious that the finder should take the art.

After they left I was please to see that Rocky wasn't left on the table. I hope the girls enjoy having him around and have fun painting their own rocks.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dollar Store Art

I bought these colorful flip flops from a dollar store a couple of summers ago thinking they would be great to use in an art project. I ran across them again today and decided they would make great Found Art.

We have had several cloudy, rainy, dreary, and cold days here in New England. These flip flops should get noticed solely for being out of season. Their cheerfulness will hopefully bring a smile and memories of the sunnier and warmer playful summer days.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Kindess and Happiness in Preteens

An article posted in December on the BBC news site discusses a small research study done with 400 school children between the ages of 9 and 11. The children in one group were asked to complete three acts of kindness every week for 4 weeks. At the end of the 4 weeks, the research shows that the students were happier and they were more popular with their peers. If you'd like to read the article, check it out here.

This seems pretty obvious to me, but I'm glad the research data proved my experience. I know I am happier when I do acts of kindness for others. Also, the people I want to be around are those who are generally kind.

Found Art is a great project for kids as well as adults. Children enjoy creating art and love giving it away. In the past, we have had entire classes and even an entire high school participate in Found Art. We heard reports from the students that they loved sharing their art with their town or with patients at a local hospital or nursing home. And we also heard from the people who found their art. They were always impressed and experienced a "lightness" for the entire day. Instead of spending time worrying, they found themselves grateful for the kids who left the art.

Have you involved your children or your school in kindness activities or in Found Art? Please tell us about your experiences.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

First Batch for the New Year

Yesterday and today I spent time creating some Found Art. It felt like a nice way to end one year and begin another--creating intentionally to bring joy to others.

For my first batch, I went back to my roots. I never thought of myself as being creative until I discovered rubber stamps. Creating with rubber stamps lead to all sorts of excursions in art from collage to watercolors and so many other avenues that fed my curiosity and brought me joy.

This art is simple, but it was created from the heart. I will bring these tags to work with me tomorrow and leave some in the building. The first floor of the office building I work in is mostly doctor's offices. So I'm hoping these tags/bookmarks will be found by some of the patients. With simple messages for a new beginning, I hope they bring a smile.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Challenge

In 2007, a video was posted on YouTube issuing a Random Act of Kindness Challenge as a response to random violence that was occurring at that time. The news mentioned in the video sounds like it was made recently. The Challenger makes some very good points for why we need to spread kindness in our world and suggestions for how to do it. Found Art is one way, but there are many ways you can effect the world every day. I hope this video inspires you to spread kindness in any way you can.