Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1,000 Paper Cranes Updated

I have always loved the symbolism of 1,000 origami paper cranes at weddings. Wikipedia tells me that they symbolize the giver's wish for a thousand years of happiness for the new couple, and the internet would not lie to me. My mom reminded me of my love for these cranes when she offered to fold them for me one day, out of the blue, because she is awesome. Besides the symbolism, thinking about the time, effort, and inevitable hand cramps that go into hand-folding 1,000 paper squares makes the gift so special. When was the last time you actually made a wedding gift for someone dear to you instead of buying up the cheapest registry items in Williams-Sonoma? I can safely say that I've never done that. Not that Williams-Sonoma doesn't have some bitchin' cookware, and these gifts are probably more practical and useful. Except for the meatball grilling basket. I just can't wrap my mind around that. And the jalapeno popper roaster. Does anyone own one or both of those and use them? Report back, please. I'm getting off on a bullshit cookware you don't need tangent here...(no disrespect intended if you own one...I own bullshit products too)

Anyway, I stumbled across this piece of artwork today on my favorite, Design*Sponge, and was inspired.

I am in love with the opaque bird cut-outs that overlap and merge to create new swirls of color. Wouldn't it be beautiful to adapt this idea as an alternative to signing a matted picture of the couple? You could cut out 1,000 crane shapes, or any image that is significant to you and yours, from different colored tissue paper or crepe paper and layer them on a canvas or flat surface. This could then be matted for guests to sign, and it would be a sweet reminder of your wedding day to hang in your home. Granted, neither of us are Japanese, but we both have a love of Asian cultures, and the minimalist aesthetic in Japanese design. Maybe this is picking and choosing pieces of a culture to appropriate that is not my own, but that's what Americans are great at! A little of this, a bit of that, and voila! Also, I don't think it's being done in a disrespectful way. At least, that is not my intent. My intent is to honor a tradition that I identify with for whatever reason, even though it isn't part of the culture I was brought up in.

Now, truth be told, I would probably be the first to be extremely frustrated by cutting tissue paper. That's almost asking for a stress-induced meltdown right, cut out a thousand paper birds from the flimsiest material known to craftkind. That's like asking someone to build a suspension bridge out of balsa wood. Totally frustrating. This could probably also be done with stencils and watercolors or gouache if you're more into painting. You'd still get the lovely transparent, blending effect from the thin paint without the pressure of ripped paper (bonus). Has anyone done something similar? I think I need to break out my gouache again and experiment. Thank you costume design class for teaching me about drawing and gouache.

Picture of Kara Maria print via Design*Sponge

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