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Fun in Alberni with Rock Paper Scissors

Port Alberni's Jane Morden is owner of Rock Paper Scissors Studio, which features painting on rocks and papier maché.
Jane Morden of Rock Paper Scissors creates a four-legged animal in paper mache. She conducts classes in rock painting and paper mache.

The entrance to artist Jane Morden’s house on Wilkinson Road is lined with wildlife. But unlike the forest, her stairway features animals painted on rocks.

Morden is owner of Rock Paper Scissors Studio, which features painting on rocks and papier maché. She is one of more than 100 artists included in the biennial Days With the Arts, a self-directed studio tour happening April 16–17 around the Alberni Valley.

Morden’s workspace is a spacious room at the back of her home, warmed by a woodstove and brightly lit by large windows on three sides. Music is playing in the background, giving the space a homey feel.

Vividly painted rocks can be found in every nook and cranny, and a menagerie of funky papier maché animals and fish can be found on multiple surfaces.

Morden considers herself a hobbyist, and says her vision for Rock Paper Scissors began in a couple of different directions. When she was a child and camping with her family, she liked painting on rocks. Although not very artistic as a child, with a work history in wildlife and fisheries, she is able to paint lifelike animals on rocks that she collects on hikes.

“I’m guilty of loading my pockets along the trails” and picking up rock on the side of logging roads, she admitted.

Her papier maché creatures tend toward the more cartoony, which lend themselves to brighter colours, she said.

Morden did not start small with her venture into papier maché: she built her son a three-foot-wide track for his cars, complete with a two-foot-high mountaintop and tunnels. “It was fun to paint it together,” she said.

“I didn’t get serious about it until the last couple of years.”

She used to have a daycare and always had her kids creating art. Now, she offers classes for kids and adults alike, in sessions of four, 90-minute classes per week. She gets satisfaction seeing the pride kids take in their pieces.

“Whatever the kids are interested in is what I do,” she said.

Morden can be reached by phone at 250-723-9551 or by e-mail at rockpaper

Because Morden’s studio cannot accommodate large numbers of people, she will exhibit her artwork in the Fir Room at Echo Centre for Days With the Arts.

Tickets for Days With the Arts are $20 and are available at the Rollin Art Centre and Echo Centre (map and wristband included). Studios and other locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public venues (which still require tickets) include the lighthouse and Ken Hutcheson Gallery on the waterfront, the train station, museum, Echo Centre, Char’s Landing, Clocktower Gallery, Chase and Warren Winery and Rollin Art Centre.