Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cranes for Christmas

I'm quite obsessed with origami cranes. I'm not sure exactly why, but I know the first memory I have of knowing anything about Japan, was hearing the story of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes when I was ten years old. The story always stuck with me and a few years ago, I went to Hiroshima to visit her memorial. Just being there in the Peace Park was moving enough, but seeing the tens of thousands of paper cranes folded by children from all around the world at her memorial brought me to tears.

Through her story, the origami crane has become a symbol of peace and so I feel it's an appropriate reminder at Christmas time. Besides, you have to admit, they are pretty cute.

I've folded a stack of them and strung some mizuhiki cord through the top so they can be hung. They are really easy to do once you get the hang of them, and of course, ribbon can be just as easily used to hang them with, I just happen to have a stack of mizuhiki hanging around. You can find a really easy to follow animated origami crane pattern here. For these, I used yuzen paper as I love the texture and the richness the gold ink gives to the paper.

I've packed up a bunch ready to send, and of course, put one on my tree.

A few years ago, for my Christmas cards, I made these and carefully attached them to the front of the cards. These were then ordered by a store in Brisbane for sale as well.

While this origami crane has been taken as a symbol of peace since WW2, the crane has a longer symbolic history in Japan. It is seen as an image of longevity and fidelity. The cranes mates for life and then raise their young together. It is often used as an auspicious symbol for weddings, and I used it myself.

My wedding invitations were two origami cranes hung like a mobile with the invitation strung at the bottom as a tag. I was really pleased with how they came out. They tied in well with my wedding dress, as the front panel was taken from a vintage uchikake kimono and had two flying cranes embroidered on the front.

Well, anyway, I really shouldn't be blogging.... the postman just delivered an exciting box from America full of supplies for my new hopefully exciting project, my husband has just left the apartment, sword in hand, for Iaido training, so that means I have a some quiet time to play with my new ideas. I'll let you know how I go!


Jenny said...

I too am rather obssessed with origami cranes-they are just wonderful and relaxing to make. Whenever I read the Sadako story to the children I always seem to cry even though I have read it so many times-the same thing happened this year! Would love to visit her memorial one day. The children are always affected by the story too. Last year I made everyone in the class(54 children-double class) a Crane for Christmas!LOVE all your cranes and what you do with them.

Michelle said...

Your post reminded me of the cranes I made for my grandma when I was in high school (ahem, about 17 years ago!). She still gets them out and hangs them up every Christmas.

I was in Hiroshima just after the 50th anniversary of the bombing and the piles and piles of cranes was amazing. I also found the whole experience of Hiroshima quite overwhelming.

I just found your blog and love it - I learnt Japanese at high school and have visited twice, and I long to go there again. I'm a creative Aussie living in NZ and I find your blog so visually inspiring - thanks!

Kim -today's creative blog said...

Mu girlfriend has 4 tree's and one is decorated with only these cranes. She folded each one.


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