Folding peace cranes for Ukraine

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Diane Dunn folded several thousand origami cranes.

“I started bending cranes – oh my – probably almost 20 years ago,” she said. “Maybe even longer.

Since then, artist Kenai has folded several batches of 1,000 paper cranes – for a family wedding, for the Kenai Peninsula Peace Crane Garden Trails and for the Central Peninsula Hospice.

For her, the value of crane manufacturing is manifold. She will share this process with others at the Kenai Art Center this month during two crane bending sessions for peace in Ukraine.

“I know I feel helpless right now watching the news, watching what’s happening in Ukraine, people in Ukraine,” Dunn said. “And I can find a place to donate money, which I know must be needed to help people. And yet, it’s like – What could I do as a artist to express myself? And the first thing that comes to mind is bending cranes.”

Paper cranes hold a special place in Dunn’s heart and in Japanese culture.

1,000 paper cranes are said to bring good luck and can speed up the recovery of a sick person. Dunn brings up the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese woman who developed leukemia after being exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima atomic bomb. She set out to fold 1,000 cranes, and when she died, her classmates folded several hundred more.

“So there’s this aspect of wanting to help others bend the cranes,” she said. “And that was after the war, or during the war, so the idea of ​​bending them in the name of peace.”

Dunn said folding can also be a meditative process for the artist. This is the time to create when it feels like there’s not much else to do.

“If someone feels isolated and watches TV all day, come sit with us and go to bed,” she said. “And I think the intent behind what we would do, bend those cranes – I think we’re just helping each other out. We’re supporting each other so that we in turn can find another way to volunteer or do something. in our community.”

Dunn and artist Kenai Abbey Ulen, both art center board members, will bend cranes and teach others at the art center the March 19 and 26 between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. No experience is required and origami paper will be provided.

Dunn plans to display the finished cranes atop the piano in the art center once they are complete.

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