1000 Cranes: uncaged

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.


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

_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

Want to help get me there?

Donations accepted but not expected. 

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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.