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Sunday, September 21, 2014

My ArtPrize entry is done!

I have, in the past, had a problem with people assuming things I made by hand were purchased ready-made. In an effort to not let confusion reign with my ArtPrize entry I made a build journal that photo-documents the process of creating the structures the four sets of miniature 1000 origami cranes are hanging from. I'm having them printed as an 8x10 photo build journal and hope to leave it at the Grand Central Market (where my cranes will be on display throughout ArtPrize) in case anyone is interested in how the pieces were constructed.

Here's an online version for those of you who aren't going to be able to make it to Michigan to see the Tiny Cranes in person.

Each set is approximately 8" wide and 30" long. The window they will be displayed in is 48" wide necessitating the small diameter of each structure the cranes are hung from.

It all began by cutting apart larger pieces of paper into smaller pieces to make the miniature size I specialize in.


Spring began as a bag of vine that I ordered online. After hand weaving it into a wreath form I folded two sizes of origami blossoms to create the wisteria cones and four sizes of paper leaves. In total there are five wisteria cones that grace the wreath to evoke spring that I added to the structure after hanging the origami cranes.


Summer began with a search for bamboo plant stakes at the end of summer. It took a few tries but I finally located some at the Greenville True Value hardware store. I measured them, cut them down to size with my teeny tiny hacksaw, then fastened them together first with fishing line, then wire, then covered with raffia to create the arbor.

I added vine and small flower blossoms I'd folded from paper shaded in pink, yellow, and orange. After dividing out the 1000 origami cranes and hanging them I realized that while delicate and pretty the piece lacked the lush abundance of summer. So, I folded more flowers.

The second set of flowers I wanted to emulate the clusters of flowers found in the fabric used in kimono prints. Two styles combined with the original blossoms and I was more than pleased with the end result.


Autumn looks simple enough but the structure is comprised of 10 separate pieces of branch that I suspect is actually roots, not branches. Either way the wood had been sand blasted of its bark lightening it to a color as light as pine. Wanting to create a feeling of autumn I opted to stain the wood a darker brown before assembling the structure.

The tiny maple leaves were cut by hand using small craft scissors from fancy, washi, origami paper then meticulously glued to the branches one by one by applying a dab of glue with a straight pin to the branch then attaching the leaf to the glue before it dried.


I knew I wanted a different type of vine for the winter cranes and found it in California before I moved to Michigan while shopping at the Soquel farmers' market. Along with organic kiwi fruit, there were bundles of fresh kiwi vine for sale. I purchased a bundle, took them back to the trailer, soaked them in a bucket and began trying out different woven designs. The finished piece used 3 or 4 sections of branches connected together with fishing line to hide the start and end points.

Next I made Swarovski crystal branches using fine gauge wire and several shades of blue Swarovski crystal beads. After attaching them to the structure it was time to hang my final set of cranes.

In total I have no idea how many hours it took to make the four sets of cranes. My best answer is "a lot." I am thrilled they're done and am looking forward to installing them in the next two days in time for the opening day of ArtPrize.

I have to say it kind of boggles my mind that they're done. Despite the rough start to the year, spending the summer living in Greenville has done a lot to turn things around for me. Being here in the beautiful countryside I've found peace.

I commented a while ago on Twitter that when I was young angst fueled my creativity. Now that I'm older I've found tranquility is essential for me to tap into my creative side. I'll close this post by saying that I'm happy that I found the place where that can happen :)

If you want to see more images CLICK HERE to visit my ArtPrize profile

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