Over two decades ago, a group of friends from my college dorm made me a giant paper crane for my 20th birthday. Her name was “Udonge” and she was the pale beige of some kind of packing wrap. Unfortunately, a couple months following her creation, she was turned to ashes by a boom box fire that started on my desk one afternoon while I was away. From the multitudes of my possessions destroyed that day, Udonge was the only one reborn a few hours later. Although, she was now tiny and made from actual origami paper.
Just a couple months after my dorm room’s demise, and with a whole new wardrobe (one perk of your clothes getting torched), I spent some time in Japan. The 100 yen stores were – and still are – a hotspot for cute delights and so I threw down for cheap origami paper. Back in the states the next fall, it came in handy while I suffered through an early-morning printmaking class. The patterns on the sheets of origami made nice backdrops for subjects such as a Xerox copy of my hand holding a Thai Airways sugar packet. (Pointless, for sure, but not bad aesthetically).
Zoom ahead fifteen years and I’m recently unemployed. Upon serious perusal of the Craigslist gigs section, I discover someone is looking for help making 1000 origami cranes to accent his marriage proposal. He’d run out of time and energy, didn’t care if they were made on notebook paper or phone book pages, he just needed them the next day. We struck a deal per crane, I purchased the cheapest white paper I could find and set up an assembly line in my living room. It was the first time I’d crafted more than one crane in a sitting and first had to go online to teach myself how. Then, I pumped out 250 by nightfall. The marriage proposer was good to his word and I was a little closer to paying rent that month