Senbazuru: 1,000 Cranes of Hope

Elissa Campbell, member of the paper crane chain gang

Proud member of the paper crane chain gang

This past Saturday I attended Senbazuru: 1,000 Cranes of Hope, a fundraising effort to aid the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The event was co-organized by my friend (and book artist) Jill Abilock and the Creative Space Gallery.

A senbazuru is a chain of 1,000 origami paper cranes that has been strung together. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish.

It’s a really beautiful sentiment.

Those making donations to the fundraiser received a paper crane folding kit that included materials and folding instructions to make one crane for every dollar donated. Participants mailed in their completed cranes which were then incorporated into the senbazuru.

It was a delight to learn that students from Mount Abraham Union High School in Bristol, Vermont had volunteered their time and talents to create 1,000 cranes for the fundraiser! The kindness and generosity of these students just blew me away.

I was thrilled that we had enough cranes on hand because I’m not very good at origami. I can’t explain it – it’s just how I am.

As the pressure to fold was off, I was able to focus on stringing cranes. It was a relaxing process – adjusting the cranes so they nested, making sure they were all the same size, trying to create interesting color patterns – these are the things I’m good at.

The senbazuru are currently on display at the gallery. In the future, they will be sent to Japan to carry wishes for health and safety from the fine people of Vermont. They look lovely hanging in the gallery windows:

Senbazuru in progress

It’s not too late to participate! You can make a donation via FirstGiving – all donations go to the Japan disaster relief efforts of American Red Cross.

If you’d like to see the senbazuru in person, the Creative Space Gallery is open Thursday – Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also call them for an appointment at (802) 877-3850.

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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