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Roll With It

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, we poked around in our sock drawer to discover some creative inspiration. Did you find  your time to be soul enriching, or at least sole supporting? I believe any article of clothing worthy of its own drawer is deserving of some focused attention from our right brain. What did you discover through playful mismatches and tactile exploration? I bet at least three of you added a few cool dance steps to the classic Sock Hop. Whether you found random joy by letting fate choose your footwear or created a whimsical sock puppet to capture the angst of our age, the experience highlighted how even the most pedestrian item can spark our creativity and add the verb “play” to our day.

This week, we shift gears to an object that’s always on the move: tires! As an assemblage artist that spends many days of the week outdoors near roads, I find tires everywhere. Even places that tires don’t belong, like the Santa Ana River or the fast lane of Interstate 215. So I’m sure it will be easy for you to spot a suitable tire to provide several minutes of creative contemplation to start or wrap up your week. 

Tires mark a path to follow back to the starts of our journeys; our concept of time and distance and our place in the world is greatly affected by tires. As symbols they can represent our efforts to move through life’s various terrains. For these reasons and more, I find them inspiring creative objects. Ready to lay some rubber in a few concentric cul-de-sacs of creative exploration? Take one or more of these exercises on a spin through  your imagination and see where you end up:

  1. Motion Capture Art: Find a small tire and roll it. Roll film on it too if you like. Observe its movement, speed, and the path it cuts. Place objects in its path. How might its short journey relate to your longer one?
  2. Tire Tower: Gather old tires of various sizes and see what you can create by stacking, painting, and arranging them. You might make a whimsical garden feature, a functional piece of furniture, or an abstract art installation. 
  3. Tire’s Tale: Retread a lost tire’s backstory. Was it part of a great adventure, a witness to an epic road trip, or did it simply fall off a vehicle unnoticed? What has it seen and learned? This exercise invites you to craft a narrative that transforms an abandoned object into a character with a history.
  4. Tire Where: Photograph tires in various poses, or natural states. Document how tires interact with their surroundings. What grows in or under abandoned tires? Spot the textures, wear patterns, and the juxtaposition of tires in unexpected places. 

Wrapping Up the Week

As we spin our creative energies in sync with tires we find all around us, it’s a great moment to be aware of all that is in motion around us. Opportunities to be creative are constantly moving in and out of our lives.  

Much like our creative process, tires endure wear and tear, traverse various terrains, and can be repurposed in countless ways.  They remind us that creativity doesn’t always come from pristine, untouched materials but often from those objects or people that have journeyed with us and bear the marks of experience.

Together, let’s keep the wheels of creativity turning, exploring new paths and discovering unexpected joys in the process. Here’s to the rolling adventures of our imaginative minds and the creative connections we build along the way.

Feel free to share your tire-inspired creations, thoughts, and stories in the comments below. How did your tire sculpture turn out? What narrative did you craft for the roadside tire? Your contributions not only enrich our collective creative journey but also inspire others to see the potential in everyday objects.

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

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