The 74 ways to be Inspired series is all about finding inspiration and applying it to your creative life ~ whether it be for your own satisfaction or as part of the process of setting up and maintaining a small creative business. These interviews aim to inspire by gaining an insight into the inspirational and creative process of those who are doing exactly that. Today, Sandy, aka the Crane Maker, is sharing the story behind her inspirational project.
First off, an introduction, tell us a little about yourself, what you do and how it came about.
My name is Sandy. I’m a New Jersey native, currently working a 9-5 desk job in my area (and attending graduate school part-time). I see a lot of people who have come upon hard times while working. That played a part in why I started my crane project.
Tell us the story behind the name of your 1000 Crane Mission? What kickstarted this project?
Originally I was planning on calling my project the 1000 Crane Project, and so I signed up for everything as such. Then my friend from college, Matt, suggested I make it more personal like the book my project was inspired after, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. So I changed over from “1000 Crane Project” to “Sandy and the 1000 Paper Cranes”. Since my elementary school never taught Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, I had picked it up on a whim to read. And was both saddened and inspired by it. It’s a true story about a girl named Sadako who was diagnosed with leukemia as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima. Her goal was to fold 1000 paper cranes. In Japanese folklore, anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes is said to receive a wish, usually involving a healthy life or wealth. Sadako’s wish was to live. Sadly, she wasn’t able to finish her goal before she passed away. So I decided that I, too, wanted to attempt to fold 1000 paper cranes. But mine will be left in different locations for strangers to find, and will each exhibit a unique and positive word.
Now this series is about inspiration, so where do you find inspiration? Either online, in the “real world” or from whom? What kind of things inspire you?
As for inspiration, it’s really the simple things that get to me. When I see someone perform a random act of kindness, or even just holding the door open for someone, I find it inspiring. Seeing other people do nice things makes you want to do them too. Other positivity based web projects also lead to my feeling inspired. Gosh, even that one television commercial by Liberty Mutual where they were all helping one another got me inspired. It really doesn’t take much.
Where do you find the inspiration for your words and cranes?
The words on my cranes started out coming from friends and family. From there, I used dictionaries and thesauruses online to continue making out my list. All 1000 words are already listed because I wanted to make sure it was possible before actually starting my project. As for the cranes, I bought large packs of paper in a variety of colors and have been using those.
Do you catalogue your inspiration in some way, either virtually, clippings in a notebook or perhaps an inspiration board?
I’m not particularly organised, so I don’t categorise my inspiration physically. I do have a favorite’s folder in my web browser where I keep a couple of my favorite inspiring web friends, articles, messages. I certainly wish I could get some sort of physical thing up and running! Most of the magazine clippings I have are currently stored wherever I can find a place for them. Hopefully one day they’ll make it to a binder.
Tell us a little the process of about making a crane and then choosing a location?
I make the cranes whenever I have spare time. Usually it’s on my couch when watching television. As it turns out, the folding is actually the easiest part of my project. I usually fold them in batches of 10 to keep my numbers steady. From there, I’ll usually write the words on them and put my blog link. Then I stick them in a large ziplock baggie until I’m ready to use them. I try to make sure I have at least 5 cranes on me when I leave the house in case I want to leave them somewhere. As for placing them, I try to leave them in public places where I have no idea who will find them. So I don’t leave them at restaurant tables or for specific people. I try to make sure it’s a visible place but that no one is watching me place them and take photos of them. (Which is getting increasingly harder!)
How do you find juggling the creative life and this project with your home and/or work life?
In the beginning of my project, over the summer, it was a lot easier to juggle my project with work. However, now that classes have started up again and work has gotten busier, it’s gotten a bit harder to keep it all going. I knew this would be the case so I tried to do as much planning and settling as I could with my project over the summer. In a little time, I’ll probably have some sort of system set up to make it easier to do everything I need and want to do. I’ve been doing more crane placement either after work/class or on the weekends than I did during the summer.
What is your goal for this mission? Any plans for when you reach the 1000?
My goal of the project is to spread a little positivity in the world. Even though my cranes are small and I’m not sure how many people will actually find them, if my project even inspires or helps one person, I think I’d call it a success. I have another idea up my sleeve for another project after I make it to 1000 cranes. We’ll have to see how this one turns out before I decide whether or not to execute the next one. I’m hoping to do something special for the 1000th crane, but I’ve got a bit of time to think about what it is that I want to do.
And because we are in blogland, can you share a couple of your favourite or most inspirational blogs/sites.
A couple of my favorite/inspiration blogs:
Thanks Sandy. Now surely that inspires you to go and do something nice today ~ open a door, pick up something someone has dropped, leave a nice note!
And dont’ forget, you can follow Sandy’s journey over here: