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Paper folding demonstration video

Thank you for the outpouring of support and participation in 100,00 Folds. I am busy cutting paper and prepping folding kits for everyone. In this video you will find a short demo on how to fold the triangle units.

Death Toll Reaches 200,000

Several white origami triangle units.

It deeply saddens and angers me to read that the COVID-19 death toll has risen to 200,000 in the United States. We’ve gotten to an unimaginable place in this country and also worldwide. Grappling with these numbers is difficult.

I don’t have much to say around this, except that I must continue with 100,000 Folds. To honor, to mourn, to attempt to understand, to deal. Most of all, I do this work to remember the people who’ve suffered.

Now is November;

In night uneasy

Nothing I say.

I make no prayer.

Save us from water

That washes us away.

Merwin, W.S. A Mask for Janus. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1952.

50 Participants!

I am honored to note that as of yesterday I have sent folding kits to the first 50 participants! I have sent 19,000 pieces of pre-cut paper to participants near and far. The response to this project has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. I have talked with artists and non-artists alike, and am enjoying this growing community of participants. People throughout the U.S. (and one person abroad!) have signed up to join me in this work of remembrance of COVID-19 and its devastating losses.

I have been busy at work cutting paper and preparing folding kits. I have recently purchased a more heavy duty paper cutter in an effort to keep up with the flurry of requests. If you are awaiting your folding kit, please know that it is coming soon.

A big thanks to all of the current participants. Thank you for helping me fold!

Stacks of red pre-cut paper

First participants

Close up image of stacks of red pre-cut paper

In the last month, I have been working behind the scenes on the nuts and bolts of 100,000 Folds. There are many pieces to this community sculpture project – the paper, the design, the website, the packaging to participants, and of course the participants themselves. I have recently rolled out the project to friends and family. The response has been fantastic. So far there are 15 participants, which has kept me busy cutting paper and putting together supplies bundles to send to each person.

I am honored that people want to join me in remembering the first 100,000 COVID victims through this project. Each fold of the paper helps to cement the memories of those people lost to this terrible disease. It is a mourning project, but also one of hope. I hope that we will do better in the future, and that things in our country will improve.

100,000 Folds Idea

An image of the New York Times from May 24, 2020 with the headline "U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS".

This sculpture project began in May, just after the New York Times ran their May 24th headline “U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS”. I had been staying home and away from others for fear of getting and spreading the Coronavirus. I hadn’t been keeping up with the news at that time, for self preservation, so I had no idea that our losses were getting so massive. I saw the headline on social media and it was like an awful surreal dream. How could it have gotten this bad? How could that count be right? How could our government mismanage the pandemic so poorly? An incalculable loss.

The NYT article named 1,000 of the people who died. There was an account of a person who read aloud all of these 1,000 names in tribute to the dead. I started thinking about what I could do to mourn, to recognize those people’s lives. That’s when I started thinking of making something that had 100,000 pieces. Origami played into this idea well – a nod to Sadako’s thousand paper cranes. It’s also something that many people can learn and do.

I knew how to fold the triangular origami pieces already, and I started working on the details of this idea. I decided on a size for each unit – 2 3/4 x 5 inches, which allowed six units to be made from a regular sheet of paper.

Next was the color. I thought of using white paper, which would be beautiful and funerary, but something was holding me back with that idea. I considered newsprint, but decided that the soft newspaper would not fold well. I was drawn to red. Red for the color of bloodshed, for the color of anger. The ever energetic red felt empowering, felt fitting.

I got some paper and some supplies. I knew this idea needed community support and participation, that I couldn’t fold them all by myself, but I needed to begin. I started folding.