Origami Cranes of York Minster

Hundreds of paper cranes will take flight in York Minster this summer – part of a community art project designed as a sign of hope and to reflect on the pandemic year.

Origami cranes express our feelings about 2020 and hope for 2021 at York Minster.

Families, children and schools across the city and beyond have been invited to take part in the Kibo Cranes project inspired by the Japanese tradition of creating paper cranes as a sign of hope or ‘kibō’, and children are encouraged to make origami cranes to express their feelings about the last year.

Local artist Penny Phillips, and ceramics tutor from St Peter’s School, York, is collaborating with the Minster on the project. She said:

“In Japan, cranes symbolise health and a thousand years of long life. A thousand origami paper cranes are often given to a person who is ill, to wish for their recovery. 

“The pandemic has made the last year difficult in all sorts of ways and we hope this exhibition will encourage everyone but particularly children to share their thoughts and feelings about the last year and their hopes for the future.” 

The cranes can be made with traditional origami paper, ordinary coloured or plain paper, newspaper or any other material that keeps its shape when folded. Children are invited to draw on their cranes, write a wish, message, story, poem, their name or leave them blank.

Full instructions are available on the York Minster website and cranes should be delivered to The Old Palace at York Minster or the Art Department at St Peter’s School by June 28.

The exhibition will go on display in the crossing of the Minster in time for the summer holidays.

(Photo is of local artist and ceramics tutor, Penny Phillips with pupils from St Peter’s School York).