Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Bag of ChiPs

In my fall studio cleaning and dejunkifying, I've been ruthless. I'm getting rid of piles of stuff begun as class demos, little snippets of possibilities I haven't pursued, clutter that doesn't fit into mouseproof tubs. But one thing I can't get rid of is my bag of ChiPs.

Donna Kallner's New Age Looping ChiPs
ChiPs are things that fall into a category that starts with C and end with P. You may know them by another name, which I got in trouble for saying out loud when I was nine. Thus, ChiPs.

Everybody who makes things makes some ChiPs. It's part of the process. I have a collection of ChiPs that reminds me of important lessons learned -- things like:
  • I did not enjoy working with that fiber in this technique.
  • Those beads look fine together, but not with that thread.
  • This idea sounded awesome, but five attempts convince me it probably won't work without a major shift in my thinking.
  • I know there's a possibility here, and I want to come back to this some other time.
  • There's no need to spend more time on that. Yuck, ick, ptooey.
Most of my surface design ChiPs get cut up and recycled into other things. Occasionally, that also happens with my looping ChiPs. I always need something I can cut into for my dramatic classroom demonstration on how looping will not, cannot, does not unravel. It's handy to have one place to go for sacrificial samples.

My looping ChiPs get tucked into one of those heavy zippered plastic bags used to package curtains and sheets. The bag I've been using had a handy little hook for hanging it on the end of the bookcase with my CDs. Where I can see it often. It may not be my best work, but it led to my best work. It was all necessary.

A fresh bag of Donna Kallner's looping ChiPs
The plastic in the old, overstuffed bag broke sometime last year along the zipper stitching. So yesterday, I took everything out of the old bag and gave it a new home. Sadly, there's no little hook on the new, larger bag.

I'm still looking for the perfect location for the new bag. It can't be tucked into a dark corner someplace -- and not just because I'm trying to declutter those corners. The bag is an important daily reminder that I'm allowed (nay, required) to spend time making stuff that doesn't work. The only short-cut around that is experience. The only way to get that experience is to make the stuff, some of which will be, yes, ChiPs.

When I kick the bucket and someone has to clean out my studio, this bag will probably get pitched or end up in a garage sale. And that's OK. But in the meantime, I'm hoarding my ChiPs.

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