Thursday, August 30, 2007


For the traveling journal called "Wings," I chose to honor Sadako Sasaki and the thousand origami paper cranes she folded. It was hard to think of a theme for this book because lately I've felt caged and not "wingful and free" at all. Nevertheless, when inspiration struck, I was relieved and ran with it. The story of Sadako is one of my favorites, not because it is a happy story, but because it is about dealing with harsh reality and yet living a joyful life. As it says on the website honoring Sadako:

"The paper crane has become an international symbol of peace as a result of its connection to the story of a young Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki born in 1943. Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. As she grew up, Sadako was a strong, courageous and athletic girl. In 1955, at age 11, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, "the atom bomb" disease.

Sadako's best friend told her of an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako hoped that the gods would grant her a wish to get well so that she could run again. She started to work on the paper cranes and completed over 1000 before dying on October 25, 1955 at the age of twelve."

Although Sadako was not healed of her disease, her legacy lives on and she is immortal in her wish for world peace and remembrance of her.

Some thoughts about creating this piece: I wanted to use as many Asian-inspired elements as possible to highlight the origami cranes I made. Actually, I used an alternate "flapping bird" folded origami model as is flatter and lent itself nicely to being used in an altered book. I created a background for both pages using an Asian newspaper, then rimmed the pages with origami paper cut into strips. Onto this background I stamped blue clouds on the upper half of both pages. I found some oriental-inspired bird stamps and geishas for accents. I had some tiny cherry blossom stickers and used those, as well.

Left page--I wanted to feature Sadako prominently so I made her into an "angel" with butterfly wings and have her flying on the back of a crane. The picture in the lower right shows the Sadako statue in Hiroshima. There is a fold out booklet in the lower left corner with Sadako's story and a diagram for folding a crane. Around the large crane's neck I placed a heart-shaped charm to symbolize Sadako's love of life and the esteem with which folks still hold her.

Right page--I folded the birds and made the earth from a stamp I had, cutting and layering white, blue and green paper onto the earth print.

For more photos of this work, please visit my flickr gallery. More art soon!


Heather Robinson said...

This is simply stunning...a favourite story of mine too and you have honoured it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Else these pages are incredible. Great work. I loved reading about them also.

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