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Hip Chip Clip

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.


How did you fare with last week’s creative suggestion to hang out at the corners of your known universe? Did you find unexpected stories at the intersections of two one way streets or discover the beauty of shadows and objects hidden by obscure corners around Riverside? Whether you penned a poem about your favorite stop sign, captured a photo series of what you really see, or raised a mini pop up art show, I hope you found both places to inspire you and places to sit and rest a minute before you reach that next block.

This week’s creative nudge can be found in your pantry or kitchen drawer, and come in handy when you want it all, but you can’t eat it all at once: chip clips! If you’re reading this from the office, yes, binder clips are good substitutes. How might these little fresh makers support several minutes of creative play for you today? 

Chip clips come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them perfect for multi-sensory activities involving sight, sound, and touch. Give yourself permission to open that Family sized bag of Doritos right now, then seal yourself away for several minutes of crunchy creative activities like these if you please:

  1. Clip Castaneda: Snap them, tap them, clip them onto various materials to create a range of noises. Use these sounds to compose a short piece of music or a rhythmic pattern; create a unique auditory experience.
  2. Clip Image: Use chip clips to create a visual piece of art. Arrange them in patterns on a flat surface, clip them together to form structures, or use them to hold pieces of fabric or paper in place as part of a mixed media artwork. Try photographing your creations from different angles and in different lighting.
  3. Clip Costume: Attach chip clips to your fingers, toes, or any part of your body. Cover yourself in clips; make a short video showcasing your creation. How does the sensation of the clips on your skin influence your movements and expressions? This tactile activity encourages you to explore the intersection of fashion, art, and playful creativity.
  4. Clip Stories: Select a few chip clips and assign each one a personality or character. Write a series of single paragraph vignettes featuring these characters. What adventures do they have? How do they interact with the world around them? 
  5. Clip Engineering: Challenge yourself to build something functional using only chip clips and other household items. Or see how many you can clip together. Document the process and reflect on the engineering challenges and creative solutions you encounter along the way. 

As we snack our way into creative bliss, let’s appreciate the versatility and potential of chip clips. These small single purpose items can inspire a range of artistic and playful activities, reminding us that creativity can flourish even in everyday objects you lose in a kitchen drawers.

Did you know that the modern plastic chip clip was invented by Jim Shaw in 1980? He pitched it to Frito Lay, and became another entrepreneur that made it big by building a better mousetrap. Shaw’s invention transformed the way we keep our snacks fresh, turning a simple tool into an everyday essential. It makes me wonder what will exist in the world in a decade that does not exist today. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it will be made by us.

Let the experience remind you of the boundless creativity that everyday objects can inspire. And what you can do with that energy. Embrace the playful, the practical, and the imaginative, and let these activities carry you through the week with a fresh perspective.

This column written with the help of a customized GPT from OpenAI. If I can make one, so can you!

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