Tuesday, October 31, 2006

1000 Cranes

1000 polymer cranes. I reached that milestone last week to the sound of "woohoo!"s from my daughters. When I began folding cranes from paper six year ago, with that 1000 goal in mind, I never imagined that I would end up here. I never reached the 1000 benchmark with paper. But I folded enough to be able to take the moves I knew instinctively and translate them into clay.
What keeps me folding are the stories I have learned along the way. The most touching to me was of a family in Indiana. They had lost their nephew/son/husband to the war in Iraq. He was a Marine who had a passion for origami. He folded cranes and handed them out to the kids in Iraq. But after a few months of duty, he was killed. The family has memorialized this special man with the crane. It is a touchstone for them of what he represented in his life, and a wish for peace. I still am overcome with emotion sometimes when I recall this story.
But there are also the kids who see my cranes and get so excited by them. Or the two women buying a pair of gold cranes for their parents 50th wedding anniversary. Or a woman who bought a crane to bring with her to China as a gift to the foster mother of her newly adopted daughter.I love it when people get excited about my other work, the jewelry and vessels. But the connections with the cranes give such richness to the process of creating them. It is more than making a pretty object. It is creating a touchstone or a symbol. It is humbling and gratifying work. (10/24/06) 6:18 pm pst