Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 1000 crane project

I didn't post on the day of the Sendai earthquake because I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, but I figured out something to do. I'm folding a thousand paper cranes, because of the legend and cultural significance which the Wikipedia page explains better than I can. The way I intend it, it's sort of a prayer, sort of an offering - not at all meant to be magical or to affect events directly. But since one ought to affect events directly as well, I decided to also use it to raise money and moral support for those affected. Here's what happens: I take my cranes to the market that happens on the first and third Saturday of every month outside this gallery, I get people to make a donation and then write their name and a message on one of the squares of paper. It will take me about a month to fold them all, so I'll be there at the next one and possibly also the one after that. I collect all the cash in a shoebox, and I'm going to donate it online to the Japanese Red Cross. Once all the cranes, some with messages folded into them, are finished, I'm going to post them online here and wherever else seems appropriate, and also see if I can hand them over to the local Japanese embassy as a gesture of support.

How you can participate: Obviously, if you live around here, you can turn up at one of the markets in April and sign your bit of paper in person. If, for some reason, :) you can't make it to Pretoria in the next month, you can do the following.
  • One, donate any amount of money to any one of the charities doing good work in the area. Do it via someone who's collecting where you live, your local church, online, whatever you like. The Google crisis response page has a number of options. Also, here's a blog post with a number of useful links for figuring out where your money should go.
  • Two, once you've done that, post your name (if you want) and message in the comments here, and I'll write it on one of my bits of paper and turn it into one of the 1000 cranes. I don't mind how much or little you donate (on Saturday I got two rand from a little girl who was helping her mother sell brooms at the market. Her name and age are on her crane - Bonthle, 8 yrs). I also don't need any proof that you did donate. Just post your message and it goes on a crane.
Let's go!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

At last - a new picture!

I paid a visit to a little print shop, so now I have scans of some things I've been working on since my scanner/printer went bung. Here's one of them: one of my favourite plants in my garden. It's some sort of an iris-type thing. The plant itself is really big, and the flowers last for only one day, but they are the most perfect purplish-blue, and the markings on them are too wonderful.

Now they last for a day, I said, but that's on the plant. This painting was a race against time, as the moment I picked the flower its petals began to shrivel and curl up. The outer petals went first, so I painted them first. Then I did the inner petals (that look like antique blue-and-white Chinese porcelain) and the inside (a garish zebra-print rug) while the whole thing slowly but inexorably rolled itself into a little indigo blob like a sea anemone when the tide goes out.

That was one fast painting. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finished, but one day I want to do a proper painting of the plant that shows how the flowers grow from communal buds that are held on the ends of flattened stems that look just like leaves.

Oh, and does anyone know what it is?