Quick History of Origami and My Introduction to Origami and Mobiles
Origami is often defined as the art of folding paper to create three-dimensional figures of animals, people, objects, and shapes. The Japanese word “Origami” is a combination of the verb oru (to fold) and the noun kami (paper). I was introduced to the art of Origami in the fourth grade, when my teacher had our class read “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” and fold 1000 paper cranes to ship to Japan. Their destination was Sadako’s monument in Hiroshima, Japan.
In 1955 a Japanese girl named Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of twelve. Her cancer developed as a result of the radiation from the Hiroshima bombing in 1945 when she was 2 years old. In the hospital she learned of a legend where a wish would be granted to anyone who folded 1000 paper cranes. With the wish to be healed, Sadako began folding 1000 paper cranes, but only managed to complete 644 of her 1000 cranes. Even though Sadako died within a year of her diagnosis, her story lives to this day. Today there is a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane in the Hiroshima Peace Park in Japan.
The words, “This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world” are inscribed at the bottom of the statue.
As a child I was captivated by this story of Sadako and her 1000 paper cranes, and I would find myself folding cranes out of any paper I happened to be holding. Over the years I’ve folded hundreds of Origami paper cranes out of event programs, gum wrapers, and napkins. Everything about Origami fascinated me and I learned how to fold numerous other Origami models besides the crane – a worldwide symbol of peace. My favorite Origami model is still the paper crane, and I will always remember the day I learned how to fold my very first crane.
Incidentally, that same fourth grade teacher had a delicate sailboat mobile hanging above a classroom window. I wasn’t much of a daydreamer in school, but I spent lots of time staring at that mobile in wonder – watching the little boats dance in the breeze. The perfect balance of each wire fascinated me, and I attempted to construct several extravagant mobiles at home with little success.
Years later I worked as a grader for this same teacher, who to my delight still had the sailboat mobile hanging by the window. I studied this mobile with fresh eyes, observing the way each boat hung from the wires and the way they never collided. I replaced a few missing sails with colored paper so the mobile could once again be properly balanced and complete. After that I had to try making a hanging mobile again.
As a child I fell in love with hanging mobiles and the art of Origami, and now as an adult I enjoy combining these two art forms when I make Hanging Origami Mobiles. My hope is to capture the imagination of children and adults alike, and to share the symbol of peace – the paper crane. Search through these next pages and see some of the delicately balanced Origami Mobiles I’ve made. Choose the one that you like best – a work of art that you, your family, and your friends can enjoy for years to come.
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