About Our Art
Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, I was raised on the idea of “make it yourself.” Making our own art was the natural thing to do. While in college studying for a BFA, I took a big step out of the rural Midwest to live in Tokyo as an exchange student.
There, at Sohpia University, I studied Japanese art and history. It was a great opportunity to travel around Japan taking in the many gardens and Buddhist temples. The traditional patterns used in the art and architecture began showing up in my paintings and drawings. When I discovered these patterns on a myriad of papers in a traditional Japanese paper store, a whole world of possibilities opened before me.
After earning a degree in painting and drawing, I began working as a decorative painter, creating custom folding screens and faux finishes for residential and commercial clients. I painted whatever the client asked for, but was most enthused if a Japanese motif was planned.
A few years ago my (then 5th grade) son came home very excited about showing me the origami crane they had learned to fold at school that day. We started folding cranes together while he told me the story of “Sadko and the Thousand Cranes,” which had been presented to the class that day. The story’s theme of hope and transcendence is encapsulated in the origami peace crane. It was Christmas time so I dug out some of my treasured Japanese papers to fold peace cranes for ornaments and gifts.
This was the beginning of the peace crane mobile in my artwork. Through the origami peace cranes I have fused the decorative nature of the exquisite Japanese papers with the crane’s message of hope and transcendence.
Columbia, MO 65203
e-mail Sonya Bird