A word of thanks and some updates

Hello 100,000 Folds Community,

I am writing on this historic day with an update on 100,000 Folds.

First of all, thank you to each and every one of you for participating. Thank you for honoring COVID victims through this origami project. It is incredibly humbling to hear your stories, and to surround myself (virtually) with a community of like-minded people. Some of you are here in Philadelphia, and many more are spread throughout the nation and the world. Together we are all folding paper for COVID remembrance.

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Some updates:

I have been very busy cutting paper, packaging folding kits, and mailing them to participants since July. By late December I had prepared and sent out over 137,000 pieces of red paper to over 320 people. I held monthly online workshops in the fall, co-hosted by The Soapbox and The Rotunda for 100,000 Folds. It was great to see some of you face-to-face and talk about COVID remembrance and origami. These workshops will start up again in March 2021, dates to be determined.

Although we have enough participants to fulfill the original goal of 100,000 units, I continue to send out paper so that others can join in. If you know someone who would like to participate, I am now sending mailers with 50 sheets of red paper.

In every week’s mail I receive packages and parcels full of folded units from you all. Each of the origami units is meaningful, and each fold shows such care and love for others. I am very honored to be entrusted with these beautiful tributes. I am slowly opening and cataloging each box that I’ve received.

The project has been featured in several local news articles:

https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-memorial-art-pandemic-100000-folds-coronavirus-joanna-hutchinson-20201004.html

https://www.fox29.com/news/west-philly-artist-creates-origami-remembering-lives-lost-to-coronavirus

The project has also been featured on COVID-Calls podcast with Scott Gabriel Knowles.

In this new year, 100,000 Folds is moving into its next phase: the building phase. I have started designing and planning the final sculptures and am working on what they will look like, their infrastructure and size, and how they will come together.

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It is with a very heavy heart that I face the news that over 400,000 people have died of the virus in the United States, and that the global deaths are over two million. Our new President, Joe Biden, said today, “We will need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We are entering what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside the politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation.

I started working on 100,000 Folds in an effort to grasp the gravity and expansive reach of this deadly virus. I wanted to understand how truly large 100,000 deaths is, and to do something symbolic to honor and mourn those lives lost. I think that the 100,000 Folds project has become something larger than 100,000 sheets of red paper, bigger than each individual unit. It is helping me to process, to grieve, and to honor. It is a tangible way to practice collective grief over the pandemic’s devastation.

In hearing from many of you, I have also realized that this project is not just to memorialize those lost, but also to remember and uphold the people who’ve lived: The survivors of the pandemic, the communities and loved ones of those affected, and the people who continue to suffer under this horrible disease.

For me, this project is also to remind myself and to remind others that we need to do better.

I am hopeful of the coming days.  

With great appreciation and gratitude,

Joanna

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