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The Earth Day Origami Project

The Earth Day Origami Project, a recyled art project by Erin Wade

The Earth Day Origami Project, part of the Butte College 2011 Earth Day Festival, was a continuation of sculptural work I’ve been creating for the past several years utilizing salvaged, reclaimed and recycled materials.

See photos of the finished recycled art piece in the gallery.

Paper is one of the materials I’ve used frequently, often manipulating it by bending, layering, burning or other techniques. I wanted to use paper collected on the Butte College campus to create a sculpture for Earth Day.

The origami aspect of the project resulted from seeing a documentary film called Between the Folds, about the art and science of modern origami practice. Origami seemed like a natural way to manipulate the paper I was using into a sculptural piece. My 9-year-old son was also very inspired by the film and the magical, meditative practice of origami became a part of our daily lives as a result of watching it.

Used, discarded paper was collected around the Butte College campus. I cut this paper into squares, decorated it and provided it, along with instructions for making the origami crane, in the student lounge. Students and I made over 350 cranes over the course of one week in April, 2011.

The cranes folded by students were used to create the final piece, which I called Cresting Cranes.

The crane was selected as the the form to use for this project because of its significance in Japanese culture as a symbol of peace and wish-granting. Both of these concepts are appropriate for Earth Day and represent my own wish for the creation of a peaceful and healthy planet. 

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