Sunday, March 6, 2011

#39 - 1000 Paper Cranes

A mountain of completed origami took over my table
There is a Japanese tradition that if you fold 1000 origami cranes with a wish in mind that the wish will come true.  However, as with many legendary beliefs, the wish may not come true exactly how you expect.  I think it's more an exercise in slowing down and examining whether you really want what you wish for.  When I was talking to a friend about this particular goal, she likened it to the Buddhist belief that if you create enough mandalas, you will achieve nirvana.  Well, I certainly don't think that I achieved nirvana by finishing this goal.  And, while I did have a particular area of my life that I thought about while I was folding cranes, I didn't come up with any fabulous ideas for making that part of my life better.  Perhaps I need to give it more time?

The 28 folds in a crane
I will admit that 1,000 cranes is a lot; I have no desire to fold any more for a very long time ... if ever.   Here's a photo showing the progression of folds with each crane done just one step further than the last.
I had never really done this much origami all in a short period of time, so I didn't realize the huge difference that the paper can make.  I had paper from four different manufacturers.  One was very hard to work with - but beautifully translucent - as it was about the consistency of wax paper and tore as easily.  Those cranes took two to three minutes to fold.  Using the other papers I could usually make a crane in about 90 seconds.

One of the best things about finishing was having some fun props to use for the photography course I'm taking.  My friend Nina came over this morning and tossed cranes into the air for me to try getting some motion shots.  Alas, I have quite a ways to go before I could really do them justice, but here's a rough idea of what they look like raining down.
Directly below the box

The cranes fall surprisingly quickly - no hovering in the air for these birds.  Even tossing them straight up really didn't increase the hang time.

I'm only going to keep one to remind me of this goal.  The rest will be mailed tomorrow to the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota ... this organization is looking for origami cranes to use in an art installation to illustrate the number of people who suffer from brain injuries.

Ironically, the resident of the house who will be happiest that the cranes are gone is my cat.  I've been folding (and counting) cranes on the dining room table right where he likes to sit to look out of the front window.  He squashed many that were in his way and even more got impatiently flicked to the floor by his tail.
Would you get these things out of my way!


  1. Thanks ... I had great fun playing with taking the photos even though none of them turned out quite how I envisioned.