Hi, I’m Debora
Hanging mobiles and the art of Origami have always been a part of my life, and now as an adult I enjoy combining these two in my art. Capturing the imagination of children and adults alike, and sharing a symbol of peace – the paper crane brings me joy, and working with my customers to create mobiles that meet their needs is always a fun experience.
Why I Make Mobiles:
Besides my desire to give origami a greater purpose for existing other than just being, I love seeing the joy that my work brings to those who see and experience it. Watching one of my mobiles in motion can help bring peace to one’s soul, and I feel that it's an essential piece of art for someone's home.
What I make is pretty and decorative, and it seems to have a life of its own as it becomes part of its environment and changes with it – moving with the air, casting shadows, and changing with the lighting. What I make is also functional – bringing joy, peace, and tranquility into homes and offices throughout the world.
Crying and frustrated babies are soothed and they calm down and feel happy watching the unpredictable movements of my art. Many exhausted babies will relax and fall asleep as they watch the origami drifting slowly above them. My art provides a source of peace in people’s stressful work environments, and helps them relax and unwind when they are at home.
How I Got Started Making Mobiles: History of Origami and My Introduction to Origami and Mobiles
Origami is often defined as the art of folding paper to create three-dimensional figures of animals, people, objects, and shapes. The Japanese word “Origami” is a combination of the verb oru (to fold) and the noun kami (paper). I was introduced to the art of Origami in the fourth grade, when my teacher had our class read “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” and fold 1000 paper cranes to ship to Japan. Their destination was Sadako’s monument in Hiroshima, Japan.
The Story of Sadako Sasaki
In 1955 a Japanese girl named Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of twelve. Her cancer developed as a result of the radiation from the Hiroshima bombing in 1945 when she was 2 years old. In the hospital she learned of a legend where a wish would be granted to anyone who folded 1000 paper cranes. With the wish to be healed, Sadako began folding 1000 paper cranes, but only managed to complete 644 of her 1000 cranes. Even though Sadako died within a year of her diagnosis, her story lives to this day, and there is a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane in the Hiroshima Peace Park in Japan.
The words, “This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world” are inscribed at the bottom of the statue.
As a child I was captivated by this story of Sadako and her 1000 paper cranes, and I would find myself folding cranes out of any paper I happened to be holding. Over the years I’ve folded thousands of Origami paper cranes, and hundreds out of event programs, gum wrapers, and napkins. Everything about Origami fascinated me and I learned how to fold numerous other Origami models besides the crane – a worldwide symbol of peace. My favorite Origami model is still the paper crane, and I will always remember the day I learned how to fold my very first crane.
An Otagiri Sailboat Mobile
Incidentally, that same fourth grade teacher had a delicate sailboat mobile hanging above a classroom window. I wasn’t much of a daydreamer in school, but I spent lots of time staring at that mobile in wonder – watching the little boats dance in the breeze. The perfect balance of each wire fascinated me, and I attempted to construct several extravagant mobiles at home with little success.
Years later while working as a grader for this same teacher (who to my delight still had the mobile by the window) I studied this mobile with fresh eyes, observing the way each boat hung from the wires and the way they never collided. I replaced a few missing sails with colored paper so the mobile could once again be properly balanced and complete. After that I had to try making a hanging mobile again.
Thinking About the Future vs Where I Am Now
Sometimes I feel doubt about what I do and how much time and effort it takes to create my art – I think I should be doing something easier and less time-consuming. I can draw well, so why don’t I sell art prints instead? I’d only have to make one original and then sell the copies. Or what if my mobiles had paper cutouts instead of intricately hand folded origami models?
Maybe one day I’ll have other things hanging from my wire frames – things manufactured as opposed to hand folded – it certainly would allow me to have items available at lower price points. But those lower price points would be for items with less soul.
Maybe one day I’ll hire people to fold the origami for me and I’ll just design the mobiles and choose the papers. My business may even grow to the point where I can hire people to do everything and I will just oversee the company and make decisions about branding and style. But then I wouldn’t be a part of the creation of every Timeless Crane Mobile.
Maybe one day you’ll be able to buy one of my mobiles at a Pottery Barn Kids, or Land of Nod, or through West Elm. Perhaps my company will be so large that I’ll have to outsource to China because it will grow beyond being cost effective to make mobiles here at home. But then nothing about what I did would be personal, and I would never see or even hear directly from my customers anymore.
Maybe one day things will change as my business grows… But for today I’m just one person creating beautiful art that has character and personality and brings joy and peace to people’s lives.