Salvaging Pretty Paper – A Thousand Paper Cranes
I hate throwing away paper–especially pretty paper. It’s my weakness. Sure, I recycle rough drafts, junk mail, etc, but I can’t bear to part with a pretty piece of paper. Instead, I save the good stuff in a scrap pile for art projects.
A lot of my art projects include paper mache of some kind, with scraps of old train tickets, cut up pictures, fortunes, and things like that. My paper scrap pile grows every day, so I’m always on the look out for a new paper art project.
In New York, my brother and I visited the World Trade Center Gallery: Tribute WTC Visitor Center. The walk through memorial includes artifacts, images, first-hand accounts and a detailed chronology of 9-11 events.
Dangling from the slanted ceiling, over a stairway to the bottom floor of the center, are ten thousand multicolored paper cranes, folded by the families and friends of Fuji Bank, to memorialize employees lost to 9-11 terrorist attacks. The display is other-worldly and breathtaking. I was mesmerized and inspired.
According to Wikipedia, “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. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy beasts (others include the dragon and tortoise), and is said to live for a thousand years.”
One thousand paper cranes are commonly given by a folder to newly married couples or newborn babies, to signify one thousand years of happiness, health and good luck.
I come home from my New York trip inspired and committed to try my own hand at paper crane folding. I pull out my scrap pile and start searching online for easy folding instructions. Jason and I find this great site with 3D animation demonstrating how to fold a paper crane.
I make a couple of wrong turns, but eventually fold my way into my very first paper crane! Its edges are a bit rough, and there are mistake creases here and there. I compare mine to Jason’s paper crane, which is much neater with precise folds. Still, I’m ecstatic. I reach for another piece of paper.
I tell Jason, I wish I could fold like a wand waving ministry wizard. Next thing, I sit back and count fifteen paper cranes. They’re all a little sloppy on the edges, but I’m certain to improve.
Folding one thousand cranes seems a reasonable goal. I’m happy with my new project–it means I’ll be able to use my stock of pretty paper. One thousand cranes. Fifteen down. Nine hundred eighty five to go.