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Friday, November 20, 2009

Put Your Own Spin On Thanksgiving!

While I remember coloring pictures of turkeys, pilgrims with buckled shoes and a handful of their Native American guests as a child - cornucopias and all the other hoopla that surrounded Thanksgiving was not enough to allow full ownership of this annual holiday in my grade school student's heart...

So it was with considerable surprise that I finally found some genuine fall harvest spirit this year in connection with working up an origami mock-up of a Asian-American inspired harvest craft project to introduce to families at Wing Luke Asian Museum.

Taking inspiration from a arty little origami box and folded paper ball, I put together a 3-dimensional spin on the traditional cornucopia theme which oddly enough fully resonates with the disconnect I've felt about Thanksgiving decor since my early youth.

Perhaps it pleases that part of my ancestry which includes hardworking farmers from Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu whose celebrated staff of life was rice rather than corn or wheat back in my grandma and grandpa's day. So the cornucopia has been transformed into a elegant folded paper box, and bread into folded paper gohan balls.

If you or younger family members might be interested in participating in this exercise, consider yourself cordially invited to a free make n' take arts and crafts presentation during a Family Day at the WING with Mizu Sugimura, from 1-3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at the museum located at 719 S. King Street in the heart of Seattle's Chinatown/International District.

While strict traditionalists may balk at this departure from conventional archetypes, as an artist I'm particularly interested in nurturing the idea that creative improvisation can always be welcomed if it plays any part in bringing more of these long-observed anchors of American life closer to the hearts and minds of us all.

And while we may prefer as individuals or communities to take different roads and personalize the holiday with our own take on the celebrations it is possible as a nation to arrive at the same destination if our fundamental goals are truly shared.

For more details and directions to the museum click here.

Below: (l-r) Mary Shifton proudly displays the paper fan she made at a previous make n'take session during a "Family Day at the WING" in August 2008 with Federal Way paper artist Mizu Sugimura .


Stephanie Frieze said...

Brilliant, Mizu! And congratulations. That's what's wonderful about Thanksgiving, it can be molded to fit any style. I hope tomorrow is marvelous.

Kim Thompson said...

Congrats Mizu! What fun and inspiration!

Lorraine Hart said...

Let me say Mizu, how thankful I am to have you...and your thoughtful, creative spirit in our community! I absolutely love the origami I love to put different spins, from different paths in my ceremonies. This is what says to me...America! Look at what we have blossomed to become...with all the wisdom of the ages and cultures, the arts and crafts to choose from and make our very own. Happy Thanksgiving! Lox