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.
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.
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:
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.
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,
Thank you to all who have joined our paper folding community and have chosen to honor COVID victims through this project. I am overjoyed and grateful to have so much positive feedback and interest in 100,000 Folds. For now, I am closing registration in 100,000 Folds in an effort to catch up on requests and also to work on the final sculptures.
If you are interested in participating, please use the contact page to send a message and I’ll let you know if additional participants are needed in the future. Please consider supporting 100,000 Folds with a contribution toward the cost of outgoing postage.
If you have already signed up to participate in the project and are awaiting paper, please be patient. I am working through the list of current participants and each person will receive an email when their box has shipped.
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.
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!
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.
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.