Creative Living Creativity Corner

paper clips

July 2, 2012

We live in a fast-paced, technology driven society and a lot of us sometimes express our need to ‘switch off’, ‘take a break’ or ‘re-balance’. Emails, twitter, facebook, pinterest, it’s all accessible 24/7 and quick and fast to use.

Interestingly enough, design classics have stood the test of times. For those of you that missed the incredible ‘the hidden heroes – the genius of everyday things’ exhibition at the science museum, which sadly finished on 5 june 2012, please spend the 3 minutes watching this video which illustrates some of the products chosen for this exhibition. Products in the exhibition included: sticky tape, sticky plasters, tissue paper to teabags and light bulbs to barcodes, all of which have changed lives around the world. It celebrated around 40 breakthrough inventions most people probably take for granted.

Today, i would like to pay ‘homage’ to the paper clip, invented by a norwegian inventor in 1899. Apparently, paper clips are deemed to be more essential to our lives than fancy gadgets such as the popular iphone 4. What do you think?

As a confessed stationery addict, i’ve collected interesting paper clips for years and thought i will share them here with you.

Let’s start with my absolute favourite. This must be the perfect design and shape. Moon clips by bethge-hamburg. There have been numerous copies that spring up from time to time. They’re not a patch to the original and i can spot them a mile away! I bet you thought only fashion and furniture is copied? Ha.

Below you will see them in black and brass. They also come in chrome.

Quite a few years ago, while in paris, i came across a limited edition of the bethge moon clips. Beautifully packaged, 24 carat gold-plated and in a quantity of 50 clips, i had to have it. Me, who usually lives in abundance, have been rather stingy with them. I found out much later that both the shop, calligrane in paris and the limited edition paper clips were no longer in existence. Of course, now i’m delighted i wasn’t frivolous:)

I hope you can see the difference between the brass and the 24 carat gold-plated clips. To me, there’s a huge difference, they are so much purer and warmer!

Staying with bethge-hamburg, here is another sort of clip that has many uses.

Now, for some fun. I got these as a present so am not sure where they’re from. I’m sure they’re still available so for any stationery expert out there, feel free to tell us. The writing paper is andy warhol.

Again, a present from a friend. I have never seen these clips before. The writing set is from the wonderful japanese and korean artbox.

These butterflies clips i bought from anthropologie last year. Trust them to find something this lovely. I think they will stay in my collection!

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my paper clips collection and maybe next time you use one or receive one in the post, you will look at it with new eyes and give it the respect it deserves!

Do you dig paper clips? Any nice ones you can tell us about? Happy monday everyone. See you thursday!

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  • Reply Francoise Murat July 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Loved this blog! Such a ubiquitous items and yet just like chairs can be designed and re-designed ad infinitum! Don’t have any interesting ones myself but loved yours. 🙂

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Thank you Francoise.. glad you enjoyed this post.

      Thank you for visiting here x

  • Reply Ingrid Weir July 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Tina,
    I know exactly what you mean about our fast pasted world and taking a break and noticing small things. I’ve just been thinking about it this week actually – maybe we’re on a similar wavelength- or even it might be something a lot of people are thinking. I’ve become interested in the concept of ‘still life”- looking at old paintings and then taking my own ones using pinhole camera photography. Just to really look at the things you use every day & form part of the fabric of your life.

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

      That’s intesting about using pinhole camera to capture still life. I’ll be interested to see how you get on if you share on your blog. At least I hope you’ll share on your blog.

      I know, I try and really look at things but often catch myself glancing over…. Mostly it’s when I’m in a rush, stressed and not feeling in the ‘here and now’. It takes practice to achieve this.

      Thank you Ingrid x

  • Reply Theresa July 3, 2012 at 12:31 am

    What a wonderful collection, Tina. SO many interesting ones. I actually have red and white striped ones exactly like your black and white ones above. I do love paper clips (and anything found in a stationery store, for that matter), but sadly I use them less and less because of technology, as you mention. I kind of collect pretty stationery paper like you collect paper clips. Little bits of happiness.

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

      The striped one is one I found in my drawer:)

      I know I know. Years ago, when I would sent out an invoice together with a compliment slip ( anyone remember those??? ) and attach the moon clip I literally would get pnone calls from my clients asking me where I got them from and whether they can have some? There it was: my USP. I regularly gave them a box as a present. Is that why I had longevity as a Business Consultant?

      You can imagine I had my own funky printed stationery too:)

  • Reply leah of sang the bird July 3, 2012 at 5:53 am

    i have a wee bit of a stationery fetish. i am always inspired by the calm organisation at kikki k.
    i’m still kinda old school. i like paper, tactile and physically tangible…. so yes long live the paper clip.

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

      So am I, old school that is! I think you’ll find there’s many like us and the more our lives will be ruled by technology, the more we’ll want the tangible!

      Thank you for your comment:)

  • Reply parisbreakfast July 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

    FABULOUS post Tina!!
    Love expecially the last sample

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Thank you Carol x

  • Reply noreen July 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    hello tina,
    24 c gold paper clips – and you collected them, and now they are true “collector’s items” because the store and maker do not exist anymore. hooray for you! I like the big clips, because as a teacher, i find the little ones don’t hold as well. those circular ones – the black – are lovely. time to go shopping?

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Of course, when it comes to course work, the little dainty ones don’t cut it:)

      Isn’t it crazy I have 24 carat gold pated ones??? Yes it is. Officially I’m now a geek!
      I used to love the brass ones but in the past few years I’ve been addicted to the black….:)

    • Reply Andy August 24, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Tina

      I have just done a house clearance and found 11 boxes (approx 50) 18K gold plated paper clips. They are made in Taiwan. They are exactly the same style as the brass/gold clips in your blog. I dont have a clue what they are worth and can find nothing similar on Ebay. I am looking to sell them and wondered if anyone knows how much they are worth and if maybe someone want to make me a fair offer.

  • Reply annie July 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Tina I am having a little chuckle to myself as this is one of the geekiest posts I’ve ever read, in a really nice way of course.

    I have to say I’ve never thought about the fact that someone designed the paper clip, I guess it’s one of those things we just take for granted. Those gold ones are very pretty indeed.

    I don’t think I’ve used a paper clip in about ten years. I spend most of my life trying to limit the amount of paper that comes into my house and removing the paper that’s there. Every bit of post makes me really cross!

    I spy a university key cabinet…..?

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Moi and writing geeky posts??? 🙂

      I’m forever having to de-clutter my office space and never really get on top of it. Too much paper, too many collections but hey ho! You know, one day I read somehwere that creative people have ‘organised chaos’ that’s me. I do seem to need a bit of chaos to get my creative juices flowing.

      In the 90’s it was really hip to sit in a white, starck room with a bunch of people and brainstorm. I can’t think of anything worse. Give me a bit of organised mess and I’m in the zone:)

      Clever girl you. I’m starting to love my new cabinet, albeit too big for my space!!

  • Reply Holly July 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    You should open a Tina museum! You have the coolest little collections – I’m so amazed. The paper clip is quite simple, something we do take for granted, yet still so fascinating if you take the time to think about it. So thank you for giving us that opportunity here.

    I love the Moon clips, they must look really cool, sitting pretty, holding some paper together.

    The Genius of Everyday Things was probably really great – did you go?

    Thanks for another fab post Xx.

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Holly, that’s such a lovely thing to say. A Tina Museum!!

      Before the internet and now blogging, I used to obsess about where/how to leave my sketchbooks/drawings etc. the thought of someone just emptying my space after I go and throwing away my hard laour was just incomprehensible. Now I’ve got my blog and feel differently about it!!

      Btw, the next time you’re in Berlin go to my other favourite museum: Das Museum der Dinge. You’ll get what I mean!!!

      Yes, the exhibition was great, for that reason..that it made you look at everyday products we use in a different light xx

  • Reply Igor July 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I use the fold back paper clips in my kitchen actually. I use them to close open packages of food, coffee, spices etc. 🙂

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Now I know what to get you… You like the XL? It came in 4 colours!!!!

  • Reply Gerard McGuickin July 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Hmmm. What an interesting post dear Tina. I love the black moon clips. I have to say I’ve never had a big love for paper clips, but equally haven’t thought much about them. I do hate those wiry metal ones that get tangled in the box. But I WILL look at clips in a new light now, so thank you.

    And had to pin the paper clip collage at the end. Love it!


    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Of course Mr. grey, it has to be the black ones for you!!! Next time we meet I’ll bring you one:)

      Still shocked you don’t own a pencil and don’t do stationery:)
      Pin away my dear!!!

      Going have to have a party for my new university key cabinet xx

  • Reply Catherine bedson July 5, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I had no idea there were so many beautiful paper clips out there in paper clip land. Tina your collection is lovely, I can’t remember the last time I used one! Glad you liked my risotto, you have to try it ..thanks Tina. Catherine x

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Having people for lunch today and seriously thought to make the Risotto as have fresh chicken stock.

      Decided to make a chicken dish… But soon, I can feel it in my bones…:) your photographs were beautiful and I’m waiting for the Sydney recap x

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily July 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

    How rather fabulous throwing the limelight on such a humble yet universally utilized object you clever lady you!! Rather partial to the black and white clip-think I’d probably make a necklace out of the 24k ones myself!! :-)xx

    • Reply tina July 7, 2012 at 8:18 am

      NOOOOOO, if I make a necklace out of it, the gold-plated will fade…. Where would I be then???
      Good idea though!

      Thanks lovely xx

  • Reply Nicola July 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I love paperclips. Thank goodness I’ve discovered I’m not the only one! Thank you Tina!

    I used to order sets from manufactum that contained 100 of three different types. One of them was moonshaped so perhaps you have let me in on their supplier. I like to send out post to clients or friends with subtle quirky details.

    I have a little number pack sitting on my desk here that I still haven’t opened – just waiting for the right moment. I’ll put them on instagram just for you…

  • Reply ursula (room to bloom) July 12, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Tina – I think I know where the ‘andy warhol’ duck/goose clips are from (? what is the relation to andy warhol I wonder?) – or at least where you can find similar: check out Midori “D-clips” from Japan at The Journal Shop (Do you know this shop? Sounds like it could be YOUR shop!) – I’ve just ordered a ton of them: rabbits for me, dogs for Ally, cows for a friend, etc.

    • Reply tina July 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

      No, those clips are not from the Journal Shop (Midori) I picked them up somewhere and I think one can still buy them online but where???

      I stumbled across the Journal shop nearly 3 years ago at a pen show in London. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
      I never saw any Midori stuff beforehand and just fell in love. Guess what? I bought tons of it:) and really liked the couple
      who run this online shop. I am a sketchbook freak and have never used anything like the Midori one. Just superb!!
      What about their brass clips and that little ruler? Yes, have it all and it makes me happy!

      Well spotted though Ms Ursula….

      Oh, btw, the Andy Warhol stationery was just as a prop, no relation to the duck/goose!

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  • Reply Elizabeth August 30, 2018 at 7:05 am

    I got two boxes of brass Bethge paper clips a few months ago along with other hand-me-downs. I wasn’t too sure what they were and tossed one box, although I did keep a box because it is interesting. I’ve been binding assignments and turning them in once in a while. It’s nice to appreciate little things like this.

    • Reply tina September 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Oh, great because I believe they stopped doing them. Glad you kept a box:-)

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