What does it mean to pursue peace? Sometimes others’ needs and crises seem overwhelming, and one wonders how it is possible to formulate any response, much less make a difference. Fortunately we have the example of many to inspire us and provide a framework for thinking through the seemingly overwhelming challenges.
Learning to fly: 1,0o0 cranes
For Portland Knittivist Seean McKeel, the pursuit of peace meant creating a quiet project within the needlework community: the knitnotwar 1,0o0 project … McKeel hopes to collect and string together 1,000 knitted and felted cranes for installation and display in late 20007. McKeel’s project builds on the legacy of 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki, whose struggle with Hiroshima-induced leukemia led her to fold more than 1,000 origami cranes in pursuit of long life and recovery. Since Sasaki’s death in 1955, many (children, artists, religious groups) express their commitment to peace by creating 1,000 crane garlands.
Many of us found this project online, or read about it in the Summer 2007 issue of Vogue Knitting ‘Knit 1 Magazine’ (with many fine illustrations). The first 100 cranes were exhibited recently in Portland’s Tangle Knitting Studio and elsewhere. My own contribution came late in the project, and includes a pair of felted cranes made with hand-dyed yarn produced by a women’s cooperative in Uruguay:
Each of these knitted and “folded” wonders is a mere 4″ or 5″ — making them produced a lovely sense of deja-vu, recalling memories of rainy days at a kitchen table folding small squares of flowered paper decade ago, as well as more recent elation as knitted sacks miraculously became shoes in my sudsy hands.
If you miss the upcoming deadline for McKeel’s project, why not extend her effort in your own community, or your own home? How many conversations about peace might be prompted by the sight of colorful felted cranes hanging from windows, backpacks, sukkahs (even Christmas trees!)? How many others might be inspired to blend their childhood love of origami with adult affection for needlework? With McKeel’s pattern and very little wool, you’ll spend a few hours clearing a flight path for peace.