Good trip! Jannik’s little fingers carefully place the stone on the moss. Here, next to a tree stump at the town lake of iphofen (near three-franken-corner), someone will surely find him soon. And hopefully he will be happy about the painted grin on his face. "Bye!", says the five-year-old. Then the bub gets back on his bike. He has five other brightly painted stones that he wants to send on a journey – a journey to happiness.
Into the luck? "The finder sees a smiling face on the stone. And then certainly laughs himself!", wishes jenny heckel, who painted the stone – her boys’ smiley bed linen inspired her to do so. Jannik’s and moritz’s mom has been a passionate seeker, finder and painter of frankenstones for half a year now. These are stones that can be found all over france, painted in color and often with a message on them. Sometimes more lightly, sometimes more heavily hidden, they are waiting to put a smile on the faces of finders – and then to be carried further across the country. Sometimes even beyond the french borders. So that the painter can find out where his little work of art has gone, the finder can post a message on the frankenstones facebook page.
"That’s how you get in touch with a lot of other stonies. This makes really spab", says jenny heckel. "And painting even more." The 33-year-old had found out about the frankenstones through a friend. "My children and i would simply paint a stone and lay it out. And already we were infected." Since then, mom and kids have been making their rounds through their hometown iphofen every day, scanning the surroundings with eagle eyes, especially "suspicious spots like branch forks, resting bench, gelander, walls. They have even infected their husbands and daddies. "Matze often brings back stones from his jogging rounds", tells jenny heckel. "Almost no day goes by without at least one of us finding something."
The family doesn’t want to miss their new hobby: "when you’re searching, you’re out in the fresh air, you’re moving around, and you’re always surprised at what you can find! It’s like a surprise egg: excitement, play and fun all in one." It’s great to see how excited the children are when they find a stone: "even before we start, they’re very excited", tells jenny heckel.
Of course, jannik and his little brother moritz (4) also want to paint and hide stones themselves. How fortunate that your grandfather has such beautiful round pebbles in his garden… The boys and their mothers make small works of art out of them: stones of happiness and arms, animal and flower stones. "For me, painting is like looking out to sea after a hard day’s work!", jenny heckel swarmed. "It’s a really great way to relax – in these times, that’s sometimes really necessary! – , just shut down and don’t think about anything. ‘Hard disk off’ sums it up quite well." She always paints the facebook sign and the short instructions on the back of the stones: "find – enjoy – post – put out".
But what if someone simply keeps a stone they have found?? "It’s okay, but it’s also a shame. Somehow you wait for your own stones to be found and posted. So i let all the ones i find travel on – after i have photographed them and put them online." She rediscovered many of her works on facebook, some of them posted from completely different parts of france, and was delighted with them. And that is exactly the goal of all stonies: to paint stones to make people happy.
But the frankenstonies are not completely altruistic: "actually, i don’t need to ask anymore what we want to do today", says jenny heckel with a wink "because i always get the same answer: ‘looking for rocks!’" this is how you get kids out in the fresh air today.