Thursday, December 17, 2009


AUSTRALIA bound for the holidays...  I wanted to wish you all , a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

See you in January 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"There's no place like home for the holidays." I'm so glad to be back. It seemed my one month  excusion turned into a three month  adventure with no computer access. However, I ended up with anew passport,  and a new baby  Grandson,  Bodhi , so we're calling him our Christmas Angel.

 I am of course very fond of all angels big and small, fat or thin, real or otherwise. SO when the opportunity came  to   create around that theme, I donned my imaginary wings and flew into my rather messy  tatami room. Beginning a project is always a chore and also a revelation of creative energy. I had been  baking earlier in the day utilizing  paper doilies for  cake  display purposes for afternoon tea, when "bing" a light came on in my head.

 Since childhood, I had seen  doilies folded and  tied with pipecleaners to create a 3-d angels, so I commenced staring into the lovely raised eyelets of the perforated paper.  In minutes I was tearing, turning and gluing the doily which ultimately ended up in  fragmented and formless pieces all over the table. " Now what", I thought to my self... " Now what do I do?"

I decided to just let the spirit take over with the paperdoll form. So what you see is what you get when you play with the Angels... I really don't even remember "  zaa art' of  painting her rosy little cheeks and lips... Actually I do believe the little cherubs  had a hand in that. They're always into my make-up brushes ....  when they get caught, of course, they BLUSH !!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


" Airing out
as well as her
is never

Haiku always inspires me, with it's inner  wisdom. After  reading Chiyo-ni's   beautiful haiku,  I entitled this commissioned ATC " Kimono". The words and collage  seem to share the same Asian essence.

In the early 17th century , ' airing out' was done in the summer to prevent kimonos , books and scrolls from being eaten by insects and mold . This woman would have most certainly been frustrated living  within the feminine restraints of the Edo society. Still she is graceful and humble in her approach to everyday life.

Creating from collage and haiku posed a few problems for me. I kept wanting to  add more embellishments to this card... but ZaaArt of  listening to one's" inner self ' dicatated that less was more in this creation.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am always encouraged  by the gentle prose of Haiku.   This is my ATC entited ' Butterfly"  which is beautifully illustrated through the ancient haiku of  ' Kaga no Chiyo".( 1703-1775)

Chiyo-ni  is considered one of the foremost  women haiku poets of Japan . She studied under two masters, who themselves, apprenticed with the great  male poet, Basho, who  ironically had  set down rules that forebade male haiku poets from befriending female haiku poets. History does have a sense of humour... Today, most Haiku masters are respectfully women !!!

" A Butterfly--
What dream
is making your wings flutter?"

" Butterfly --
you also get mad
some days."

" What the butterfly
wants to say --
only this movement
of its wings."
This is one of  four new ATC's   commissioned and set to Haiku prose...  ENJOY !!!

Friday, August 21, 2009


ATC addiction is real.. It's sweeping the world with images and expressions of comraderie and connection... Two years ago , I didn't even know what an ATC was... Since joining, " Flickr" and "Fantasticflatpaperdolls", a whole new world has opened up in the realm of artistry and finding like minded friends.. Isn't the internet a marvellous tool? ' "Enlighten" ( above) and " " Caught "( below) are an example of two of my ( traded) ATC's.

This week, I joined, two more groups... "Roses On My Table" and "The Sum of All Things" ..... As if I didn't already have enough to do ( Ha Ha). The fact is
these little pieces of work are theraputic to my creative soul. It just feels good !!!

I mean who would have thought that a 6cm X 9cm card would become a such craze. The cards are produced in various media( pencils, pens, markers, etc) wet media ( watercolor, acrylic paints etc.) paper media( in the form of collage, papercut, found objects etc.) They are usually traded rather than being sold. What an exhilerating exchange of artistic freedom.. KAAZAM !!!!

Clubs, trading sessions and online mailart communities have largely replaced the original concept of trading cards.( eg,Baseball cards) Besides being a great hobby.. ATC's have become an iconic expression for existing artisans and wouldbe artists, who can hone in on their creative abilities, while sharing and learning from the experts. It's a great way keep intouch with the artistic community and enjoy classes online or locally or abroad...

To date, I have friends as far away as Budapest, Finland, Sweden, Britain and of course Canada/ Japan... and we all have one thing in common ... ZaaArt of creating. It's amazing how a small pleasure such as making a trading card can create such a big space in the heart of the world.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Pottery Hunting...Yes I'm fanatical about artists and their artistry... Last week-end we travelled just outside Yufuin, where I knew there was a great gathering of open market antiques. Come rain or some shine , the pots withstand the weather, in the humidy of a Japanese summer. Needless to say, I was lanquishing amid the rainy mist that was falling. Much to my dismay, I was really, too hot, to appreciate the kalidescope of beautiful pottery that lay before me.

Into the dust ridden shop I went, sneezing and wheezing into every corner and platform of the antique shanty . Goodness, there was a millenium of rare collectibles, too many to even see past, into the sunlight. Really I wanted to sit amongst them and revel in all the treasures, but heat exhaustion dictated...." "Get ye into an air conditioned car". Yes ma'am I replied and stepped out the door.

"Wait a minute ", called a little voice..."Just wait one minute"! I hestitated, turned, looked in both directions and THEN gazed down to the earthen floor... BEHOLD ... a beautiful poet, handpainted on glass, lay peeking out from amongst a pile of old papers and debris. It was love at first sight !!! She, was an early 1900 piece of art, just waiting to write a haiku for the new world ... Lucky Me !!!

Personally, I'm just loving the ZaaArt of her presence. It's sort of an East meets West connection ...Deja vu. ... I'll buy the pottery next time!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009


While tiding up the tatami room I happened across alittle paper fairy, that I had created for Kittie Kelly's " Artful Paper Doll " group. She was woefully stashed in amongst my paperdoll collection in the deep dark closet... Oh Dear !!!!

With busy schedules, we artists sometimes forget our little muses and heap tons of burdening chores etc. etc over our creativity... It's so sad. I pulled her from the basket, closed my eye and fondly REMEMBERED, my fairy muse's name. It was " Light Sprite".

I had never really thought about taking on the fairy role but gee, " Why not ? I giggled as I set to work creating myself as a flying entity . "Where do I begin ?"and " What materials do I use ?"and GOSH ... What is her personality like?" I mean, I was re-creating myself, into the fairy persona... so there were many question to be answered . Yes, I was talking to myself.. AGAIN ( Ha ha ) Do you ever do that?

It took weeks to creatively connect with my little fairy muse . In a transformational gesture , I decided that fairies have to be comfortable within themselves ....Sooooooo, I applied a petal pink fibre over the original template of the body, hoping that she would take on that warm fuzzy feeling.

In every daydream, I could feel this child-like innocence staring in an array of soft colors. Hues of pinks and purples and green floated like bubbles all around and then popped me back into reality. My little fairy muse was taking form as I secured the last of four heart shaped brads to her delicate body.

This project truly moved me..I wanted " Light Sprite to have heart and soul . I wanted her to greet each morning with a twinkle in her eye and a smile in her heart. I wanted her to be happy, light and free to take flight into this awesome world of ours. Last, but not least, I wished for her to be curious and to possess alittle glimmer of mischief, lest she get lost in a dark closet again and lose faith in her creative existence. ..SO ...Miss " Light Sprite", there you go ...

I hung her in the fairy window at the front of the house, so that she could see the bustling of everyday life happening ... The dogs barking the children playing and my neighbour meticulously tending his bonsai tree.

There is such patience in my fairy muse and such an amazing grace that pulls us through the darkness of our everyday lives into the windows of reality. Although " Light Brite" is only a figment of my imagination, she is ZaaArt of imagination that keeps me creating as an artist. Thanks, "Light Sprite" .... May the force be with you all ,as you find your own . sweet, fairy within.


HELLO all you beautiful people. It's so nice to be back into the sweltering humidity of Japan . I missed chatting with you. So , Hi , Hello and WELCOME to those of you who are currently reading this page. Thank You for sticking around my friends.
Lately , I've been doing alot of doodling on phone books, magazines, spare pieces of paper or anything that happens to lay itself in front of me... It seems that I'm making a very undignified mess .
I've been doodling since childhood, but lately, I'm starting to wonder why !!! Lots of people scribble away absent- mindedly and often these doodles carry a great deal of meaning especially for an artist. Sometimes it's a great source of inspiration for serious artwork. So why do people doodle and what do doodles mean?

We are a species that is constantly engaged in productive activity. I believe that
laziness is a sure recipe for extinction of the species, so doodling must be an act of preservation... Right !!!

We, humans are naturally akin to using our hands, scanning the horizons with our eyes and walking great distances. So we fidget, twitch, fiddle and doodle, whenever we are forced to sit still for any length of time. Don't you think that doodling is a natural outlet for frustrated artistic expression... It's just plain old healthy to doodle and create something meaningless and not especially beautiful.

Look at the ATC that I've posted. This was an artistic ATC assignment, complete just a few days before I left for Canada. I was so frustrated and actually fragmented, with so little time to wrap up so many projects.

I couldn't turn my head off so I engaged in a moderate activity with my pencils ,colors and paper. I also, had limited visual vocabulary and basically worked with the instincts of my inner child. YES ..I reverted back to childhood, recollecting shapes, form, texture, infact anything that was at my most primary level. With a major in psycology, I knew that theses shapes and colors had significant meaning. So I did a self- art therapy analysis on myself to see just what kind of mental shape I was in when creating these ATC's.

The happy face ( circle) represents infinity. Circles have no ending or beginning but evolve symbolically as the (whole) universe.( That's good) The rectangular body symbolizes earth or ground, ( stability) hopefully that means my feet were still grounded while awaiting lift off of the Air Canada 747.

Women often doodle flowers, which simply indicates, a love of nature and sometimes a childlike innocence or wishfulness. It's definately a feminine, passive aspect of the universe. So far , I'm normal ( Ha Ha) except for the very unorganized sqiggles etc. etc... In the context of doodling, color is generally that of which ever pen you have your hand. However I did color in the shapes so let's see what color associations they have.

RED represents power, physical energy and passion or it can indicate anger or anxiety. Is this what you call seeing red? ) PINK denotes love friendship, compassion and relaxation. Pink is symbolic of a gentle emotions and emotional unions. It's much less intense than red. I think the red and pink balanced one another.

DARK BLUE indicates stability, strength and security. Super Woman ( Hee Hee) It also denotes, depression, moodiness, impulsiveness and changability. Quess, I was alittle moody !!!! YUP !!!

Sea-green and blue represents the water and ocean that I was anticipating crossing and green is regarded as a restful color suggesting well-being. Maybe I wasn't as distressed as I thought( Wishful thinking).

I did place the ATC's on a black background and of course the hair was black which analytically transpires into saddness and confusion. However there were those lovely doodled hearts that saved my eternal being by expressing my sincere romantic disposition( Tah Dah). Hearts are usually drawn by people who are in love. That's me.

ZaaArt of self- analysis is a pretty touchy subject but sometimes a critical look at what page your standing on, helps an artist turn over a new leaf... forward HO !!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The "Lusty Month of May " is over but the season of the blossoming 'Camelot" has just begun. Today, while wandering through my garden, I realize the many gifts of nature that I've taken for granted and am inspired to give thanks by creating.

In a way, this little Blossom Fairy  is just one of the many ways inwhich a creative soul can give back to Mother Earth's generosity.

I am humbled at this time, as I leave Japan and return home to Canada for awhile. I will  miss my modest little garden and the many unassuming, fragrant blooms that have greeted me with a smile.

 Ever time I see flowers, I feel happy and often relate to that good old seventies term, "Flower Power".  Nature just seems to work in harmony with our creative being .   It's quite possible that our creative consciouness does not create itself , but rather is influenced unconciously, by spontaneous ideas and sudden flashes of nature. Artistically, we record our feelings on paper and call it art. I like the idea that nature and creativity become one energy of expression.

"Fairy Blossom" (above) is my creative outpouring of  the Cherry Blossom  season here in Japan. The season is just too beautiful for words , so as an artist, I do try to recreate  the ethereal flora of the environment.

Japan's indigenous religion," Shinto" has taught me  'ZaaArt" of 'great love and reverence for nature".  The 'Kami" or balance and harmony are enrichening gifts that I carry in my heart across the ocean for the summer months.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Who's ready for Spring? ... MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !
I'm so happy, that I'm jumping up and down, clicking pictures of everthing insight...Of course, in Japan, one must ask for permission, to take a picture of another person, so, I'm gingerly sitting on my hands, to stop them from going ' snap , snap .

This is a picture of my "Springtime Sakura" Doll. She's one of four , washi creations, that will be on display, at the Kitakyushu, Doll Exhibition, during the month of April.

"Springtime Sakura", is a small doll that I have secured onto a hanging board, for decorative purposes. She's a highly respected Oiran Lady who would have a garden filled with spring flowers to honor the season.

I'm a March baby, so Springtime has always been a special time of the year ... Spring is like opening birthday presents .. It's a sense of joy that can only be harmonized with nature . It's like walking in the melting ice, with a hole in your boot. It's like breathing in the euphoric air, that's filled with the scent of the Easter Lilies.. It's like seeing a kalidescope of colors dancing through the ground as the tulips and daffodils blossom and break forth . Spring is like being reborn..I love it !!!

So, it's no wonder, that everyone is noticing, my over exhuberant attitude. Even my doll Sensei and the Japanese ladies are laughing at my spring fever, antics... OK .. so I made cream puffs for last weeks, class... They were " Yummy Calories ", that I'll probably wear off , running around the Doll Exhibition.

I'm so very honored, to be part of this Japanese Artisan Showing ... Needless to say, Zaa Art of taking pictures needs alot of practise so I'll take two camera's instead of one.( Hee Hee) Just incase I run out of film.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I think of the garden after the rain;
And hope to my heart comes singing,
" At morn the cherry blossoms will be white,
And the Easter bells will be ringing!".
Written by: (Edna Dean Proctor : Easter Bells)
Wishing the blessing of Eastertide to all my special friends... Please enjoy the 'Zaa Art " of the Springtime .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


April is " Cherry Blossom" season in Japan . It's a mezmerizing time , when an ethereal pink hue takes over the hills and countryside. I have been so in awe of the beauty that I've snapped over 500 pictures. Today, I remembered a song. "Sakura, Sakura", is a traditional Japanese folksong from the Edo period,depicting Spring and the season of cherry blossom in Japan. It was first composed for children playing the "koto".

" Sakura, Sakura"
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
On Meadow-hills and mountains
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the morning sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Flowers in full bloom
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the Spring sky,
As far a you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the air.
Come now, come,
Let's look, at last!
If you would like to hear this song , please go to:
Hope you have the time to enjoy 'Zaa Art" of the season by taking a moment to stop and smell the blossoms. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Monday, March 23, 2009


It Birthday time in Japan. Four, out of five members of my immediate family celebrate their birthdays in March, so the Spring season often becomes one big PARTY.

This is a picture of my husbands' birthday gift. ' Lion Boy ", a character from the Kabuki Theatre. I thought it might remind of his youth and maybe, he would jump up and down and we could go dancing ( Yes, that's a good idea! )

Kabuki is a blend of music, dance, mime and spectacular costuming. It has been the main theatrical artform in Japan for four centuries. "Lion Boy" is one of it's favorite characters. I had never made a male doll and thought it might be a fun project. WELL.........

The truth is that, we didn't go tripping the light fantastic, but the gift did make my husband smile . He really appreciated, that I made a male washi doll for him. ..SO he took me for a week-end trip on his birthday and bought me a pearl necklace. .. HEY ..That's " Zaa Art " of Birthday Magic.

Monday, March 9, 2009


"Romancing the chocolate" is unique in Japan. Recently, I received, some " White Day " gifts ... OH, how lucky am I ... but I wondered, "What is White Day?"

If you remember, only Japanese men receive gifts on Valentine's Day... How sad for the ladies, but never fear for there is gallant hope here.

In 1978 , the Japanese National Confection Industry declared that Japanese women should also receive gifts of chocolate love. So, they originated the celebration of " Marshmallow Day" on March 14th, one month after our Valentine's Day. WELL ... marshmallows gave way to delicious, white chocolate and the day was soon transformed into, " White Day".

If a man received a " honmei-choco" , chocolate love, or " Giri-choco", chocolate, given by a female co-worker on February 14th ,then he would be expected to return the favor to the lady, who incidently, may have bought 20 to 30 chocolate boxes for distribution around the office. ..That's alot of male admirers !!!!

Needless to say, this approach to Valentine's Day is something that department stores and confectionary shops promote and look forward to because of the potential sales that it generates. Really, it's a win/ win situation for everyone. .. I mean, if you don't love chocolate , put up your hands!!!

Now, let's take this one step further .... The gifts, for " White Day , are sometimes termed as "sanbai gaeshi" ( literally ,"thrice the return") so whatever a man buys for the lady , should be two to three times the cost of the original gift that he received.... Sounds good to me.( Ha Ha) ... Chocolates, china, lingerie and jewlery seem the most popular ..(CHA-Ching)

If your an English teacher,( like me) you might be lucky enough to receive a " tomo-choco", sweets for a friend.... I enjoy sweets and I adore receiving gifts, so I will gladly accept 'ZaaArt" of giving from the Heart on White Day. .. M-M-M-M- M- This chocolate is yummy!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This is Kasuga, my wonderful new/old Hakata Doll. She's an antique ceramic that weighs alittle over 5 pounds. Her unusual hair color and intricately designed kimono are breath-taking.

She drinks tea in the elegant ceremonial fashion. It is a happy day for her. See, how gracefully, Kasuga poses her hands...Beautiful !!!.

The process of creating Hakata Dolls varies amongst masters and families, who are recipients of the art technique traditions, that span many centuries.

Hakata doll makers procure their own clay ( tsuchi) locally. The dolls are named, after the area inwhich the clay has been found. In this case Hakata-ku, Fukuoka prefecture.

The pre-owner cared meticulously for this Hakata Doll. I was fortunate enough to receive the artists' signed signature plaque, plus a wonderful, old, rusty carrying case, inlaid with silk padding. Thank You !!!

I am not sure of the exact date of this doll, nor the artists' name, although it seems to say, Tatumi/Tatsumi. Japanese is a symbolic language, often it seems, that the written name or story is interpretive or not exactly understood.

No matter ... for in true fashion, Kasuga, is ZaaArt of a Master Hakata Artisan...whoever he may be.

Friday, February 20, 2009


No Valentine's Story for Japanese Women... It's true !!!
Being a romantic , I decided to use my ESL, English Class for a sweet romantic interlude of learning .. .. games, puzzles, valentines, stories and poems , all stamped with a big red heart, spelling FUN.

My husband and wife duo, needed to practise their conversational english and writing skills, so I asked them to write a love note to one another, paste it on a Valentine card, then exchange and discuss their thoughts together.

ALERT ... It was suddenly a very delicate situation and very apparent that showing affection was taboo. Anyways ,ONLY men receive chocolates on Valentines day in Japan .. It's part of the business plan, to encourage goodwill toward, future business endeavours. Goodness.. so much for reciving a heart shaped box full of yummy chocolates. Strike One in the history of romance.

Ok, how about Valentines, my friend? ... "No, we do not exchange Valentines," he calmly replies. THUMP ...There was dead silence... Suddenly, a screaming cry resounds ... " I buy you a Valentine and chocolates every year." ... "You buy me nothing," she complained. Oh, Oh ... Is this Strike two in English 101?

OUCH !!!! I was starting to feel alittle stressed and very saddly out of my culture. Needless to say there was alot of conversational english going on. There was also, lots of emotional expression (SOB) and complete sentences with alot of periods and exclamation marks at the end. Was I in the middle of a relationship crisis? No.. It was just stellular English Comprehension and Grammar.

I absolutely marvelled at their ability to ask one another questions. ..And even ( blush) clapped when each one used the appropriate english in a statement... Their vocabulary was excellent. AHHHHHH, I thought, listen to the wonderful continuity of their tones...Up and down.. and soft and loud... HMMM They are learning how to express themselves.. Good work!!!

OK .. Talking is over... They stayed overtime to write a note to one another, cut, paste and exchange Valentines for the first time in their lives. YES ... There is a lesson to this story. All the ESL and Love was not lost ... They actually walked out the door smiling and holding hands... BRAVO

My male student, even decided that for Valentines Day, he would drive his wife to the bus, to spend the night with her girlfriends .. to drink Beeroo.

It seems , that ZaaArt of Love's Labour is alittle lost, romantically, in the Asian translation, but moving forward...slowly, in the English Department

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Springtime is a coming and with it the Hina Matsuri celebrations. The most important dolls of the season are the tachibani " standing hina, emperor and empress or the Dairi-bina, the seated royal pair, who are featured in most of the festive displays around Japan.
These two little doll( left) are approximately 5 inches tall, including the stand. Their heads are made from a cotton Q-Tip and the bodies from hard cardboard tubing, the size of a quarter in diameter. It was fiddly work , because of the tiny size. Tweezers where needed to secure the embellishments such as the ribbon, fan and hat onto the dolls. I was really amazed at how delightful I felt when I had finished... Tah Dah !!!! Now I only have twelve more figures to make to complete the set... WHEW!!!
The Girls' Day Festival ( March 3 ) was established in 1687 and is perhaps one of the most celebrated in Japan. A few days before the festival, mothers and daughters take out their Hina and arrange them on a red cloth . Sometimes this includes a tiered seven step display with the Emperor and Empress at the top, followed by three ladies serving sake, five or ten musicians, two guardians with weapons and three servants. Toy trees and semi-precious stones, representing a dowry such as carts, chests etc) may also be included. In the Western world, we build Victorian Doll houses and enjoy a casual tea party . In Japan, Hina Matsuri represents, the cultural requirements of manhood and womanhood. It comes with a wish for marriage and a warning not to leave the display up too long, lest the marriage be delayed. So ZaaArt of making dolls and drinking tea is much more culturally exotic here in Japan.

Friday, January 9, 2009


It's the first class of the year and of course I had to create the New Years' Baby. I've called her 'Rini" meaning " little bunny " in the Japanese language." Oh rabbit on the moon, What are you leaping for? I shall leap, I shall leap soon, at the large full moon". (
Yes, I sing when I create. Tra-La-La... but, I just couldn't help noticing, that this little dolly seemed to be crawling all over the place, getting stuck in the glue, rolled up in the cottons strips and tangled in the wire, which was a hefty 20 guage. So, I stopped singing and concentrated on the work at hand. ( Focus)Creating Baby was a challenge with all the teeny, tiny poses to chose from. I bent the wire this way and that way, crushing the washi garment to feel and see some authentic form. However, this little cherub was really testing me, but don't all children. They're all basically, a divine work of art in one form or another. Rini was no different.There seemed to be alot of giggling, ooing and cooing going on as this tiny spirit evolved and was transformed into an ( almost live) Washi baby.Suddenly, I started to laugh... because, the best thing about this wee one, is ZaaArt of not having to change diapers. She's already potty trained.. So , I call her my " Miracle Baby".

Monday, January 5, 2009


So , I'm in a restaurant watching people picking their teeth, but they are covering their mouths. It's a custom here in Japan. My food arrives and I pull my chopsticks out of a beautifully folded rice paper envelope and there I spy a toothppic Geisha. HMMM ..I love it. Well I search the net lookingfor instructions. I asked my friends for help, but none of them know anything about these little lovelies. So I started experimenting with the washi paper and toothpics.. I never knew that there were so many different kinds of toothpics. Well there are fat ones, round ones, skinny ones, short and tall ones. I'm stumped, but not defeated. A year passes and I stumble across a little shop in the Kokura market and quess what I find? The perfect toothpic.( Doesn't take much to excite me.) It's five cm long and has a circular nick around the top part of the pic. Now, I'm happy..... It took alot of practise but ,Tah Dah ... I'm creating my own little Toothpic Geisha's. Infact , they have become my New Years' inspiration for a "Paperdoll Craft Book" that I'm working on ...No , I don't pick my teeth with them . Toothpic Geishas are fiddly, but in ZaaArt world, time and patience is what it's all about. There's no paper stuck between my teeth..( Ha Ha)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Crane Lore

Have you ever wondered what to do after a Christmas dinner ? This year we made Origami Cranes for the New Year celebrations. Of course some people were better at the folding than others, especially in Japan where they learn paper crafts at an early age, in kindergarten. Surprise, surprise, we had alot of fun doing it.
In Asia, the crane is know as the " bird of happiness" and is often referred to as, thee , 'Honorable Lord Crane"... Myths tell of a legendary warrior who conquered his foes, to heroically, extend the borders of ancient Japan, and upon his death, his soul took the form of a crane and flew away. ( I'd love to illustrate this)
A 12th century legend, tells the story of Yorimoto, who attached labels to the legs of the cranes and requested that the people who captured the birds, record their location, put it on the label and then re-release the birds. This was a very early program, of bird banding.( Amazing isn't it) Infact some of Yorimoto's birds were claimed to have still been alive several centuries after his death.
( Ha Ha)
Yet , another, 12th century, myth retells the tales of Kakamura, a Feudal Lord who celebrated a Buddhist festival . After a successful battle, he freed many cranes, as a thanksgiving gift . Each had a prayer strip on it's leg, to convey a special prayer for those, killed in battle. This appears to be the first recorded association of the crane with celebration of peace and prayer.
Inevitably, the cranes reputation for a long life and prosperity, has became a symbol of good health. Origami cranes have become a popular pastime and a special gift of offering.. So far I've made one hundred small cranes for an origami mobile. I would like to hang it in my new/old Canadian house as a fond remembrance of Japan. It will symbolize the ZaaArt of being Happy and at Peace during 2009.