Chet Greason email@example.com
On Monday, Rachelle Watts was driving through Upper Queens Park when she noticed a package tucked under the chin of one of the cast iron canine sentinels guarding the Parkview Drive entrance.
The package turned out to be a large, clear, Ziploc bag. Inside was an elaborate handmade lap quilt sewn together from various pieces of fabrics and wrapped in a green ribbon. The quilt came with two notes. The first read, “Take me! I’m yours! Hurry before someone else does.”
Watts took the package to her mother’s, where she unwrapped it.
“I thought maybe someone had lost it and I’d try to return it,” she says.
Once unwrapped, Watts discovered a second note, explaining the mysterious package in more detail. The note said the quilt was a gift left by a member of something called the Art Abandonment movement, “A group of artists sharing what we love to do by leaving artwork in random locations across the globe for others to find and enjoy.
“Today, the universe picks you to receive this gift in the hope that you enjoy it,” the note declared. “Or pass it on to someone else.”
A quick search online of the Art Abandonment movement shows that it was founded by Vancouver artist Michael DeMeng. According to his website, what began as a hobby of scribbling on napkins in restaurants and leaving the sketches for others to find soon grew. Before long, he was leaving charcoal sketches at a certain point along a river close to where he lived. Eventually, DeMeng’s fellow artists convinced him to start a Facebook group, calling other artists to spread kindness to strangers while also helping the artists themselves to learn to let go of their pieces.
In less than a year, the Facebook group has grown to include over 12,500 members worldwide.
“The idea is that folks can make something and leave it for a lucky unsuspecting person to find,” explains the Art Abandonment Facebook page. “Artists can then post locations and photos of abandoned goodies … and finders can let everyone know that they are the lucky finder!”
Watts says she intends to let the Art Abandonment group know she found the Queens Park quilt (the accompanying note included an email address.) She also plans on producing her own piece of art, with the help of her father and her 10-year-old daughter Olivia, to leave somewhere for someone else to find.
Watts adds she intends to keep the quilt.
“I’m going to pass it on to my daughter,” she says. “It made my day.”
“For the people who did it, this is a really big act of kindness,” she adds. “With today’s society, it’s nice to pay it forward and keep things going to lift people’s spirits … and to know that there’s good will; good people out there.”