Peace Cranes -2018 Collage made with origami paper cranes

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This collage was inspired by a trip to Hiroshima, while visiting Japan. Traveling and experiencing different cultures has had a major influence on my creative expression, and after discovering the Japanese tradition of folding paper cranes, now synonymous at Hiroshima with peace, I was keen to incorporate them into an artwork.

 

It's said that if you fold a thousand cranes you can make a special wish that will come true, and making someone a gift of a thousand paper cranes will bring them good health, good fortune and lifelong happiness. For this project I folded 120 paper cranes, so I still have some way to go.

This photo of The Flame of Peace Memorial was taken on a beautiful, bright morning in Hiroshima.

I learned to fold paper cranes travelling by tram from Hiroshima to Itsukushima, when I met a lady who didn't speak English and my Japanese was non existent. I showed her the paper crane I had just bought at Hiroshima, developing our own version of sign language. After delving in her handbag for some moments and finding some old receipts, she promptly folded one into a perfect paper crane, complete with flapping wings. She then showed me how to do the same, though mine was far from perfect and much practice was needed when I got home. We had made a creative connection, unpredictable and entrancing and every time I look at my Peace Cranes I think of her.    

Maiko in Kyoto

Wherever I travel, no matter what wonders I might encounter, it is always the people I meet, the connections I make and the stories they tell me that remain in my heart. Here you see me being taught a singing game by a Maiko in Kyoto, demonstrating that playful, creative curiosity is universal.