1000 tea tag cranes

In February 2020 I began my third senbazuru (1000 cranes project), this time using the extra bits from tea. I was lucky to receive a bag full of enough material for about 600 cranes from The Cordial Eye Gallery during my AmeriCorps year of service on Cape Cod. Another artist I met at the gallery gave me her collection of tea tags, which had enough material for a few hundred more cranes. 

The Friday before Labor Day 2020 I folded my 1000th tea tag crane while watching the sunset in the woods with dear friends. After folding it I made a solemn vow: 

I will not fold another origami crane for one full year, unless it is to teach someone else. I have now folded roughly 5000 cranes in my life since the age of 9, and it is time to take a break. I have folded them to focus my energy and to create instead of destroy, but other times I have simply folded them compulsively. 

Now is the time to use my hands for other creative endeavors. There are other origami patterns to fold, there are reeds to be made and music to be played. 

The cranes now live in a 750 mL apple juice jar nestled in Lynn Taylor's first ever macrame and secured with a space panda pin. 

View more photos and order prints here

1000 Cranes: uncaged

In the fall of 2018 I realized it was time to free the cranes from their cage. Below is an excerpt of my submission to ArtFields 2019. 

Over the last few years I have caged myself in by doing too much; by giving myself away.

Freedom isn't free. It requires effort. Sacrifice. Break it down; redefine yourself. Free yourself of the assumptions people have.

 

I AM. I EXIST. I create myself.

 

Exist for yourself. You have that right. You are here for a reason: make it count.

 

"The art you make matters."

To free yourself you must first accept yourself. My obligations have caged me in, and I now realize they were never my responsibility.

Find the full backstory on my blog

1000 Cranes

ARTIST STATEMENT: Submission to ArtFields

 

I just do things.

Since I was a child and read the story of Sadako at my library during a summer program, origami has been a presence in my life. I folded cranes that were sent to the monument for her in Japan and I haven’t stopped folding.

In 2017 I folded 1,000 cranes out of cigarette foil, but I’ve never smoked one. One day I had the urge to start and ten months later I folded the 1,000th crane (it was blue). Three months later they were all strung together and hanging in a birdcage. A mirror on the bottom allowed you to see yourself in the cranes.

 

_Remember that language is power.__Back chasing dreams here we go again..._Dreams crack then fade in
July 28, 2016: A new project
December 8, 2016: 25 sheets per clip
April 8, 2017: another 50 cranes
50 cranes in the palm of my hand
May 21, 2017: another 50 cranes
May 31: It's a rather lot of cranes
June 28, 2017: hanging cranes
July 8, 2017: The final strand
All the cranes hanging
August 21, 2017: bottom view
Top view, before mirror.
Close up.
Added a mirror to the bottom.
Cranes all the way down.

Where will I show up next? 

©2017 by Kelsey Leahy

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This website was funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.