Giving life to rocks | Denise Scicluna

Maltese-born, London-based artist Denise Scicluna tells us about her upcoming book, ‘Rock Art!’ which will teach readers how to embellish rocks and pebbles with lively and colourful designs. 

Denise Scicluna. Photo by Stephanie Galea
Denise Scicluna. Photo by Stephanie Galea

Could you tell us a little bit about how your rock-painting started? What first inspired it, and what spurned you to keep going?

Back in 2011 I worked on a project which involved pebbles. I painted over 300 pebbles and represented a logo using them. Over the past year I've been creating jewellry and accessories made out of polymer clay. A lot of people thought they were pebbles!

I put all this work online and it attracted the attention of a publishing house in London which focuses on arts and crafts books. Soon I received an email asking if I was a pebble artist. Even though I have worked with pebbles before, I wouldn't consider myself as one. However, I kept in touch with them and the rest is history: a proposal to be an author of a pebble art book was presented to me. I said yes!

What made you decide to put this all in a book?

When the proposal was handed over to me I loved the idea straight away. I saw it as an exciting opportunity and my previous work with pebbles and crafts definitely helped. I was immersed in the ‘pebble world’ for nearly a year, researching on designs, different types of pebble and tools and applications which showed how to make use and apply pebble in homes and gardens. I loved the beauty in the simplicity of it all!

How did you go about putting together, and publishing, the book?

The idea from the publishing house occurred to me in the summer of 2013. My project, together with other 29 ideas for books, were all presented at the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair. The idea of having a pebble book attracted the attention of two prominent publishers and distributors – Search Press UK and Barrons (US and Canada).

After this go-ahead, several planning and brainstorming sessions were involved where main ideas of the book and its structure were brought forward and discussed. I worked in batches, submitting four main work loads over around nine months. I worked on all designs of the pebbles, including the text for the entire book. I also took photographs of the step-by-step process. The first part of the book includes a general introduction of pebbles, painting on pebbles and what tools you need. The book ends with applications as to how you can turn pebbles into décor items in houses and gardens, games, lucky charms, magnets, jewellery and more.

What do you hope people will get out of it?

It is simple – you can do fun stuff with the simplest things such as pebbles. I really do hope that people allow pebbles and their forms and colours inspire them and see how easy and fun it is to work on pebble projects. It’s a great, cheap way to involve kids and adults together, allowing them to be messy and creative.

What’s next for you?

Working on this book was a new experience to me and it turned out to be an exciting one. I would definitely consider working on another one if an opportunity comes by, or an idea for a new one pops in my head any time soon!

Rock Art! will be available from Search Press from March. For more information, log on to

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