The Spirit of Peace

I heard about a monument that essentially was honoring the orizuru (the traditional paper crane). I followed the vague directions and found a place called Lyndale Park and more specifically, the Peace Garden. There I discovered quite a bit of garden, all quite beautiful.

Then off to the left I noticed a statue surrounded by fourteen stones. The statue is a column of stages in the folding process, starting with the Preliminary Base, to the Bird Base to the completed crane. There are six stages, one on top of the other.

Each stone has a plaque embedded in it. There are diagrams with instructions guiding the folder as they circle the statue.

The whole piece is titled The Spirit of Peace and was designed by Caprice Glaser. It is a part of the worldwide effort to honor peace and remember the horrors of the atomic bomb. It was the story of Sadako Sasaki that brought such a union between origami and peace together, and the monument is to honor her as well.

I recommend that you visit Lyndale Park. If you do, they have origami paper in something like a mailbox so that you can fold your own crane!

[These pictures are my own, taken of The Spirit of Peace designed by Caprice Glaser and owned by the city of Minneapolis]


Morris Park Players

Trevor the T-Rex and I went to a show put on by the Morris Park Players, which is a community theatre group. Other than the loose connection to origami provided by Trevor, there is one reason I think that this presentation of Cinderella is related to paper folding. Specifically, it is democratic art. I ranted about it a bit in a previous post and was hoping to add some new thoughts here.

I am falling in love with the idea of local art and local production. As an example, the MPP is a community group that exists by sheer force of will. They are not the local chapter or franchise, they are the whole of the organization, no "orders from the top". In fact, the "top" seems to have been conscripted to fill in minor (but essential) parts.

There are many ways to tell a story, and Cinderella is a perfect example. There are books, international movies, plays, and such. What excites me is a matter of scale. These some 50 people were pulled right out of the community and their work has come full circle to be enjoyed by the same community. It is custom, tailored, tuned. It is an expression that satisfies the artists and the observers in a way that Avatar 3D never will. When I saw the show one part of me saw the Disneyfication of the story how a similar play could be done in any American town, but I also saw actors and actresses I recognized. People I went to school with and their families were there, which came as a complete surprise. This wasn't just any play in any town, this was a production specially selected by my community for my community. I was sincerely told why I needed to be a part of future productions (not that acting is my cup of tea) by the father of a friend.

I think origami is typically like this. Sure, there are the big shots who fly around the world and take have speaking engagements and special commissions. But most folders are just people in the community who are trying to express themselves artistically. They are from the community, and they are absorbed back into the community.

I just feel so warm and fuzzy inside when I see that people are able to build up their own art. They cannot just sit back and hope that Hollywood will finally make a good movie. Instead they make a great play and share it with their neighbors.

There will always be art, so long as humans are human, but democratic art requires us as individuals to act.

[The T-Rex was designed by John Montroll]


Origami Ball Game!

So, I woke up this morning and checked my origami day calendar. Most of the stuff in it is pretty mundane, and I often use the paper for projects of my own choosing, but I seriously consider each day's suggested project. Thursday's project was a Catcher's mit (presumably a traditional fold since I've seen it a few places before). What's so cool about that? Well, I had tickets for the Twins game today. Baseball origami the one day that I go to a baseball game? Awesome.

So, we went to the game via bus because we wanted to avoid the downtown traffic and gazillion dollar event parking fees.

Best part: since it was Earth Day, all Twins ticket holders rode for free!

The new stadium is outdoor, mainly because people forgot that they were building it in Minnesota, but the sun was really nice today and the structure had a good feel to it (though, I must admit, I am philosophically opposed to tax money paying for it).

The coolest part (for me) was when I was half-way through folding a turtle in the 4th inning and decided to finish it later. The woman sitting behind us asked me what it was going to be, so I did finish it and let her have it. It made my day that she was so excited about origami, if only briefly.

The Twins lost by 7 runs and who cares (I don't).

After the game we decided to grab some ice cream! A good day.

I like the idea of origami that finds it's own home. Each of the models pictured was left near where the picture was taken, and hopefully someone will discover it. Then they will decide what happens to it!

[The model on the bus is a dolphin designed by Jun Maekawa, the model in the cup is a swan designed by John Montroll, and the standing crane is a modified version of Jun Maekawa's three-headed crane]


Origami Everywhere

I have a habit of abandoning origami in public places and decided that I will document some of these instances.

This is a samurai helmet designed by Jun Maekawa, folded by me and abandoned in a store.


SW Origami

Well, I guess it has been a while since I last posted, so in an attempt to jump-start back into action, I thought I would draw your attention to a website that I particularly admire. I discovered this site in my early years of origami. It was a real spark for me.

I knew that the master folders could use mathematical secrets to design whatever they wanted, but it was by stumbling upon this site that I realized one did not need to be a renowned master to take full advantage of origami. Here, this guy designs half the Star Wars universe in paper and then put the instructions on the web for everyone to see! I have taken shameless advantage of that and folded all of his models to impress friends.

For some reason it was, and still is, important to me that he not only went through all the trouble of designing them, but then did not publish them in a book to make money. He shared them without any apparent profit. That is the model I envision for art and here he has done just that.

[The image is from this site. The models are designed, and presumably folded by, Philip Schulz.]