Crane Wall

I started folding these cranes when at the beginning of winter, and due to increased restrictions, I spent much of the holidays in isolation. To occupy my time and myself I started making cranes. Fortunate enough to be off work, I had time to dedicate to this project. 

The original plan was to make 300 or so, based on the amount of origami paper I had on hand. As the project continued to unfold, I decided to make 730 cranes. Each representing one day for a two year period. As I was approaching the two year pandemic anniversary I felt that was fitting.  (For me, and many others, “my pandemic” started Friday March 13th) My intention was to hang them up, to do a write-up about the process, and take a video of myself installing them. As I had only budgeted 3 hours or so to complete the installation, the extra time needed was sprinkled throughout my week. The anticipation to complete the process was real!

What I didn’t know at the time was that this project would take me much longer to complete. 

The hanging of the cranes, a task I had set aside 1-3 hours to complete, took me close to 14. I ran into issues I had not foreseen. I was working with delicate materials, the paper of the cranes required a delicate hand. I broke a surprising amount of glass beads, as some of them were not thick enough to slip over the needle and fishing line. The fishing line also caused some bumps in the road, tangling and breaking at the weak points created by the needle. 

I miscalculated and miscounted the cranes, lost track during counting, and had to start over. It was tedious. Seems so fitting, for a project representing the passage of time during the pandemic, to not go as planned, and take much longer than anticipated. 

The thing is, I love making cranes. Origami is one of my favourite crafts. I was introduced to it as a child while at camp. We would take apart National Geographics and fold them into cranes. I find the process particularly helpful in managing my anxiety. It is something I can do without really paying attention. It helps distract my brain, especially when it gets carried away. 

As the process of folding the cranes takes both hands, it engages both sides of the brain. The following of a specific process keeps me focused on the task at hand, rather than the worries of the world.

As for symbolism, the crane can represent many beautiful ideas and notions. In Ancient Rome, the crane symbolized the Mother Goddess, and represented endurance and renewal. (Possibly something I am trying to harness during these challenging times?) In Ojibwa culture, the crane represents eloquence for leadership, another fitting symbol for me as I am a mental health practitioner trying to navigate challenging and stressful times. 

I believe that archetypes, symbols, and images enter into our lives to send up messages, inspire contemplation and provide us with opportunities for joy. During the 52 hours it approximately took to complete this project it certainly left me with space to reflect. A semi-permanent fixture on my studio wall, a reminder of my strengths and of my dedication to my creative practice. A visual reminder that not everything will go as planned, but one can enjoy the process regardless.

Published by linneatheartist

Canadian Art Therapist and Death Doula. All services are currently offered online. Sharing my experiences with healing through art.

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