2012 was a relatively good year for me.
As a freelance designer for theater, it’s not always a given that you will have work. Last year, I was lucky to have 12 full months of design and assistant work that followed each other in succession. I was proud of the work I did and the shows I was involved with. I was able to make enough money to move out of a bad apartment/living situation and find a much healthier space to call home by the end of the year. I felt an even deeper and growing sense that I belonged in New York, and belonged in Theater. I was able to balance work with a social life (admittedly, a small one) and also the responsibility of owning an incredibly adorable French Bulldog. Things were good.
But they also weren’t.
I won’t get into the long backstory right now; perhaps as I continue more of this project, I’ll touch on some the specific situations that were starting to upset me. Maybe I won’t. We’ll see.
I knew there were many things about me that I needed to change. There exist many things that I’ve tried to change. There exist many things that I’ve learned won’t easily change. There exist many things that can’t change now.
I’m not trying to present myself as helpless or resigned. I’ll just admit that I was unhappy and frustrated, wanting to change and redirect certain parts of my life, but also feeling slightly powerless to create that change.
I don’t know what brought the story of Sadako Sasaki and the Japanese legend of 1000 Paper Cranes to my attention last year. I’ve certainly been aware of it before; I seem to remember my mother had a very brief fling with origami when I was a child, and I do remember being read the story of Sadako in elementary school.
The legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes and ties them together will be granted a wish. Others believe that a person will be given eternal luck for doing this.
I was intrigued by it.
But, because I’m who I am, I didn’t want to go about this easily. I challenged myself to quilt these cranes. And, to remind myself that I do have a network of family, friends, acquaintances, mentors, etc. around me who have helped support me and make me who I am today, I was originally going to quilt each crane individually and mail them to 1000 of these people who have left a noticeable impact on my life. By including these people in my Quilted Crane Project, I wanted to acknowledge the good, the love, the knowledge, the experience, the skills, the confidence, the history, and so on that these people have given me. I wanted to remind myself that I am not alone here. I am surrounded by people in the past and present who are here for me.
So, these cranes are a way to work towards a wish, I guess. They’re also something I can give back in thanks.
I don’t normally put much faith in fate or wishes or luck (although, as someone who works in theater, I do understand this career can seem to be driven completely by luck), but this legend seems like a noble effort to undertake.
I should also mention my mother’s last name, before marrying my father, was Crane. And that my maternal grandmother, the last of my grandparents, passed away last year. This project can- and probably should- be seen as an acknowledgement of my family and the support they’ve given me so far.
Here we go.