Tale of a Thousand Cranes

November 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. Cranes are considered a mystical or holy creatures in Japan and they are said to live for a thousand years.

I wanted to fold these cranes for the people who were affected by the Tsunami, especially the wonderful people that I met in Ishinomaki while volunteering. I spent hours cyanotyping the cranes, which is a non-silver process that uses Ammonium iron citrate and Potassium ferricyanide which when combined and exposed in the sun, it turns blue. I printed feathers on them to give it more of a Japanese feel and that in hope that these birds will fly away with new owners.

I made a total of 384 cranes, all printed and folded in total of 2 weeks. I was aiming for a thousand, but when I asked my mom about Senba-zuru (translation: a thousand cranes), it means “a lot” in Japanese. It took me about 5 minutes per crane at first but as I kept folding and folding, I got better and I was at 2 minutes and 15 seconds per crane. I had help from my mother, my boyfriend and couple of my friends. I have great people in my life.

I wanted people to remember the tragedy that happened in Japan on 3/11/11, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. I want people to keep Japan in their prayers. By giving away the birds, I hope to raise awareness and create conversation between people in the community, whether it beĀ in their homes or businesses, through art.

I used tracing paper and this is what the paper looks like after exposing. I’m hanging it to dry after washing and rinsing the chemicals out.

After having them hanging on campus for a week, I put out a sign that said “Feel Free to Take One” and successfully, all my cranes had a new owner by the next day. It made me happy that my creation made people smile. Hopefully they decorated their rooms with it.

I am going to expand on this project and hopefully have an installation next semester for the senior exhibition.

If you currently posses one of my cranes, please share it with others, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it. #athousandcranes. or tag me, Airi Katsuta.

Thanks!

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