one woman's view into a world of creativity

Senbazuru Origami Cranes

Wow, spring break is finally here, and I consider myself lucky to be writing this post.  This has got to be the hardest semester I’ve experienced yet, and we’re not even finished yet.  But we’re halfway done with spring 2011 term, and I get a week’s break to rest up.  What do I plan to do?  Lots and lots of art.  So expect some fresh posts to arrive soon.  But first, I’d like to write a little bit about recent events and how I managed to finish mid-terms.

As I’m sure you all know by now, the catastrophe in Japan has spurred outpourings of help from around the world.  Here at C of I we helped out with creating a senbazuru: the folding of 1,000 paper cranes for luck,  healing, peace, and granted wishes.  Each crane was sponsored by a $1 donation and matched by Chevron:

“Members of The College of Idaho community participated in a Senbazuru fundraiser for the American Red Cross on March 18, 2011, to help citizens of Japan affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami. Students, faculty and staff folded paper cranes, a tradition known as the Senbazuru, which comes from an ancient Japanese legend that says a wish will be granted to anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes. Hundreds of C of I students, faculty and staff combined to fold 1,000 cranes and raise $1,086.58 for the American Red Cross, which will be matched by Chevron.”

A table was set up in the student union building, and I was able to help out a little bit with folding the cranes.  I know (or knew) nothing about how to do origami, so it took some friendly coaching to do all the right steps.  But by my second crane I pretty much had it down, and with several more cranes I committed it to memory.  Boy was I excited.

It may sound strange, but I feel like I was rewarded for helping Japan out in this small way.  During the rest of the week, whenever I was feeling particularly stressed and anxious about tests and papers, I took breaks and made paper cranes.  It only takes a minute or two to make them, and focusing on each step of folding the paper crisply and precisely calmed my mind and distracted me from the panic.  Making cranes became therapeutic for me.  The little paper cranes gave me hope that I could indeed survive the challenging days of academic torture.

A set of cranes I made during midterm week, ranging in size from traditional to penny-sized.

I really admire origami for several reasons.  One reason is for the skill it takes to make multiple complex folds without getting confused or lost.  Another is the ability to rotate the image within the mind three dimensionally and see how it will work from several different angles.  (There’s a specific term for this skill, I think, help me remember if you know it.)  I have the greatest respect for people who don’t need step-by-step instructions to create incredible paper masterpieces, but instead create their own designs from scratch!  I had to start with instructions on paper plus a personal coach to finally learn how to make a paper crane.  But somebody before me (probably years and years ago) had to come up with the first design for turning a flat square of paper into a three-dimension figure resembling a bird!  I’ll try to update this post with website links to some original origami masters, but for now I’ll leave you with a tutorial for how to make the basic origami crane.  I hope creating them soothe you as much as they did me.


Comments on: "Senbazuru Origami Cranes" (1)

  1. […] today, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in the origami craft or you enjoyed my paper crane post.  The documentary does a good job of exploring the science behind the folds, real life application, […]

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