Sunshine streams in through shop windows as a group of origami enthusiasts meet in downtown Cedaredge to drink coffee, socialize and fold squares of colorful paper into elegant cranes. Group members, who have named themselves "The Craniacs," gather for a morning of folding every Saturday in the front room of Stacy's on Main Street. The size of the group varies, with sometimes as many as 10 folders, but the level of enthusiasm remains the same.
Origami is an intricate Japanese art form. Enthusiasts fold paper into shapes representing animals, flowers and other three-dimensional objects such as boxes or boats. The crane is a popular origami shape because the bird is an Asian symbol of happiness, peace, good luck and long life. Japanese folklore proclaims that a single crane can live a thousand years -- and anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be blessed with prosperity and good health. Paper cranes are given as well-wishing gifts for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.
Depending on technique, each finished bird requires as many as 20 separate folds moving through intermediary shapes -- a kite, a boat -- and performing increasingly complex creases and elaborate inside-out folds to produce each finished bird. Once completed, 15 cranes are threaded together and sold in Stacy's shop to benefit the newly formed Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center. The "Craniacs" get started around 9:30 a.m. every Saturday and new folders are always welcome.
The seventh annual Eckert Crane Days, the annual viewing of the sandhill cranes migrating north from New Mexico through Colorado's West Slope, will be March 16-18. Representatives from the Black Canyon Chapter of the Audubon Society (BCAS) will be at the viewing site east of Eckert at Fruitgrowers Reservoir, 9 to 11 a.m. each day, to answer questions and provide binoculars and spotting scopes.