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Bag it Up

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, our creative exploration offered us the opportunity to engage our sense of touch and delve into the narratives tied to the everyday objects that accompany us. Perhaps you imagined a world where all the missing keys go to talk about us, or maybe you put your keys in a flowerpot and called that art. Whatever you tried, I hope it let a little more creativity into your life.

Our focus this week is another everyday object that, unlike keys, are not built to last. Our creative nudge this week is going to emphasize our sense of touch with a recyclable grocery bag.  What might we learn about ourselves and how we make things by using an object designed to break down and become (ideally) nothing?

The recyclable grocery bag is a partially successful convergence of functionality and eco-consciousness. At ten cents a pop, we all have a few bucks worth of them, probably all rolled into a single bag, waiting to become an impromptu waste basket liner. Do they seem like they are making the world a better place sitting in that awkward ball? If these bags could talk, they would ask to be put to work. It’s time to give this utilitarian tool a second life!

Plastic bags are a multisensory experience. Let's start by tapping into our sense of hearing. Pick up a recycled grocery bag and gently manipulate it, allowing your fingers to explore its texture. The crinkling, rustling, and shuffling sounds that emanate from the bag become a your personal metronome of creativity. Allow your sense of play to come into play.

When you feel like it, give one or more of these a try for a few minutes:

  1. Fashionable Reimagination: Transform your recyclable grocery bag into wearable art. Craft a unique clothing item, an accessory, or a statement piece that reflects your individuality.
  2. Eco-Friendly Camouflage: Repurpose the bag into an assemblage sculpture. Incorporate found objects, recycled materials, and other items to craft a 3-D work that speaks to sustainability and creativity.
  3. Photo Bomb: Place the bag in various settings—urban landscapes, family photos, famous landmarks. The contrast between the recyclable bag and its surroundings can yield neat compositions.
  4. Foley Artist: Use the bag(s) as sound effects for moments in your life. What might a bed of bags sound like to sleep on?

Through these activities, we experience the multifaceted creativity that emerges from these ever present objects in our lives. Rather that just another problem to solve, the recyclable grocery bag becomes a canvas for sensory exploration, soundscapes, visual compositions, and tactile transformations. By immersing yourself in the creative process, you engage with the bag's environmental story while weaving your narrative into…whatever it is recycled bags are made of.

As you crinkle, shape, and reimagine the bag, allow it to engage your senses and your attention, guiding you toward innovative artistic expressions that reflect your connection to both the material world and the world of ideas.

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.