Crane Wishes project for ADVENT 'US'

Crane Wishes
Join in A Crane origami Extravaganza. To make a wish for 2017.
Sunday 4th December 3.30 p.m  til 5.00 p.m 
Free, all ages welcome

We are collectively trying to make 1000 cranes across schools and communities. According to Japanese tradition folders will be granted a wish. Happiness, health and long life.
The cranes made will be installed in St. Mary’s church. 

Projections of Crane Wishes on December 22nd 6pm till 10 pm.

Crane Wishes is part of ADVENT (US), a project curated by St. Mary’s arts collective. A range of local artists, will project onto St. Mary’s church from 1st to 24th December 2016. 

Some children from Greenleaf primary school, children and adults at Church Hill Nursery and You can aim to make as many cranes as possible in the spirit of Senbazuru. Come to the workshop at St.Mary's or donate your cranes in the spirit of making a wish for Walthamstow.

One Thousand Cranes
 a group of 1000 origami cranes that are folded to wish someone good luck, long life, recovery from illness.  A universal symbol of peace.

History and cultural significance
Japanese beliefs promise anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes a wish by the Gods. This may be eternal good luck, long and healthy life, recovery from illness or injury.

The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures and is said to live for a thousand years.

A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift by the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. They can also be given to a new baby for long life and good luck. Hanging them in one's home is thought to be a powerfully lucky and benevolent charm.
Several temples in Japan have eternal flames for world peace. At these temples, school groups or individuals often donate senbazuru to add to the prayer for peace. The cranes are left exposed to the elements, slowly dissolving and becoming tattered as the wish is released.

Popularisation of the Senbazuru

Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who at 24 months old, was exposed to the fallout from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during WWII. Sasaki  developed leukaemia soon after.  At age 12 after spending a significant amount of time in a hospital, she began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend. There are differing versions of her story – one version is that although she did complete the 1,000 cranes she continued folding past that when her wish did not come true. Another version of the story state that Sadako never completed the 1000 and that friends and family folded more.  There is a statue of Sadako holding a crane in Hiroshima Peace Park, and every year on Obon Day (festival for ancestors/deceased), people leave cranes at the statue in memory of the departed spirits of their ancestors.

The statue of Sadako Sasaki on top of the Children's Peace Memorial

 If you'd like to make a crane here's the instructions. 


Local artists, school groups and community organizations representing people of a variety of faiths and backgrounds (including those who have no faith associations), will create images (photographs, paintings, drawings and more) which will reflect on this universal longing for peace and justice and a better future, and will be projected onto the church - one per day until Christmas Day.  

While a wide variety of images will be featured in order to reflect the ‘US’ in ‘ADVENTUS’, there will be the recurring theme of people who have had to leave home due to war or violence: a stark example of human hopes for a better future.

Each day’s projection will also feature a person, object, event, recording, piece of music, or simple reflection inside the church (similar to opening the door on an Advent Calendar) at an appointed time each evening, as the door to the church will be opened for 1-2 hours, inviting people in to the building to engage more deeply with the exterior ‘calendar’ image for that day.

This project mirrors the overall aims of the St Mary’s Arts Collective (, which is to open up St Mary’s Church for arts-related uses, to celebrate E17’s diversity, to foster community creativity and form new friendships, to create curiosity and wonder, and to challenge stereotypes.