The Convoluted Tale of the Tiny Folded Cranes

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on April 3rd, 2013

Would you like to have a hand in solving a Woodson Art Museum mini-mystery? Help crack the case of the two incredibly tiny folded cranes and you could claim Sherlock status and offer a tip of the hat to someone who must be a dedicated origami enthusiast.

The story begins with a discovery. Two teensy folded paper cranes were found a week or so ago in the crane depository in Art Park, the Woodson Art Museum’s interactive family gallery. Throughout the Folding Paper and Paper Sculpture exhibitions, visitors are folding paper cranes to add to Flock to Fold, a community art project on view through Sunday, April 7. Most visitors follow supplied printed instructions to fold cranes that are a couple of inches tall and leave them to be added to a series of colorful mobiles suspended from the ceiling.

The two tiny cranes in question, though, are no bigger than the tip of a pinky finger. Museum educator Catie Anderson folded a little one out of a restaurant’s paper-strip napkin ring and placed it in the hollow of a spoon for scale (and the waiter’s amusement). Even that little bitty bird seems like a giant in comparison to the two found in Art Park.

Museum staff members Dave Jones and Joe Ruelle discovered the tiny cranes and erected a shrine of sorts in a “back-of-the-house” hallway recently and we posted a photo on the Museum’s Facebook page, asking if anyone wanted to take credit for the amazing feat of folding. Although the shrine photo was well “liked,” no one as yet has claimed to be the creator.

When Museum volunteer Sue Weinkauf sported her lovely paper crane necklace while greeting Museum visitors last Friday, I thought a new lead might’ve surfaced. The necklace was an early 80th birthday gift she’d received from Marilyn Middleton, her Wausau YMCA ai chi water aerobics instructor (you go, Sue!) who visited the Museum recently to see the origami exhibition at Sue’s invitation. Sue called me to report after her class on Monday that although Marilyn is adept at making miniature folds, she wasn’t the tiny crane creator.

So the mystery remains.

I’m just curious; might a bit of social media sleuthing help solve this one yet? If you have any clues to contribute, comment here or on the Museum’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Although clearly not a conundrum worthy of Agatha Christie, it has made fun Facebook fodder. A nice, glossy origami PR poster – suitable for framing – awaits anyone with information that leads to identity of our talented tiny crane folder.

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