Red Crown Crane

In memory of our brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones who disappeared in the tsunami that occurred in Japan in March of 2011.

In honor of the courage and determination of the men and women who decided to dedicate their lives to the rebuilding of their community, based on the vivid faith in their vision of a brighter tomorrow for their own and for the upcoming generations and to anyone courageously resolute to embody hope in their daily craft of better tomorrows.

“A Crane symbolizes immortality… just as the incarnation of a dream defines eternity”
A. Foster

In the midst of the tragedy that occurred in Japan in March 2011, Alex Foster and the members of the band Your Favorite Enemies, who initiated the “Hope Project: For Japan Relief”, had the humbling privilege to visit the Minami Sanriku Cho Volunteer Center. They had the honor of witnessing the courage and determination of the men and women who decided to dedicate their lives to the rebuilding of their community, based on the vivid faith in their vision of a brighter tomorrow for their own and for the upcoming generations.

From that inspiring moment arouse in Alex the profound desire to give life to something that would honor such determination and courage, as much as it would incarnate the hopeful and heartfelt character of anyone resolute to build, rebuild or craft their lives based on their own visions and dreams. He explains:

“When I saw the bright shining light flowing from the eyes of all those men and women -who could have spent the rest of their lives mourning the loss of their own and cursing the elements that ripped away everything they built, but rather were sharing their will not only to survive but to fully live- I felt really reverent and uplifted by such a vivid spirit… I wanted to honor that commitment… I wanted to craft something that would be more than a “momentary symbol of hope” based on the remembrance of a tragedy… I wanted faith to arise and life to be celebrated… and the crane, who symbolizes immortality was the perfect embodiment of such project”

Shortly after they came back from Japan, Alex shared his desire with Miss Isabel, who besides her career as a keyboardist in Your Favorite Enemies, has been working alongside fashion designers and jewellers for years, and decided to team up in what would be a first mutual side project to their musical career. Miss Isabel says:

“Alex is not only a very brilliant and passionate artist, he is also very honest and very determined towards what he believes in. So when I heard him sharing his heart regarding what would later become the “Red Crown Crane”, I knew it was real and I immediately wanted to be involved somehow. At the time, I couldn’t imagine the fabulous and meaningful nature of what he had in mind, neither did I have any idea of the intimate and personal essence the project would find in me…”

After several weeks thinking and sharing about the emotional implication of the project’s frame of mind, the whole concept of “Red Crown Crane” came to life in a pure drift of soul, as Foster remembers:

“When we truly knew we had touched the spirit of what we wanted to craft, the materialization of the project came pretty naturally right after”. Miss Isabel adds: “Alex was talking about the thousand origami cranes he received when he was very sick to illustrate the healing power of having, if only one person, loving you so much that it will make you come back to life… that it will lead you home… you realize you’re worth enough for someone to become a thousand prayers… And as we were talking about the empowering nature of believing, we realized we were actually defining the essence of the project. That was the true starting point… everything flowed right after.”

Soon after, having touched the essence of the project and defined its identity, Miss Isabel came up with different sketches, from which one of them represented perfectly what they called a vivid incarnation of the invisible. “We were really grateful we kept digging deeper and deeper, because we really challenged each other on so many different levels… We knew we touched it, and shortly after, the sketches allowed us to actually see the spirit we had been talking about for what seemed forever… It was an incredible sensation for me. And even if I somehow knew we were far away from holding the idea in our hands, I trusted Alex’s enthusiasm into believing that we were close enough to feel it” says Miss Isabel.

The materialization of the sketches could have been a major obstacle to the concretization of the project. Alex, having a very good idea of what was about to come, insisted that such spirit would be crafted out of glass. “I always contemplated glass art with a profound reverence. The only idea of something that could be looked at as tasteless and inanimate when left untouched, but becomes instantaneously personal, precious and warmly alive when truly touched and owned, was quite fascinating for me, especially that it was perfectly representing what hope and faith are all about for me.”

In order to materialize their now well defined art glass project, Alex invited Japanese artist and personal friend, Kaori Uchiyama. Miss Isabel remembers: “Alex told me about one of his friends from Japan who was crafting glass. He was really excited about the idea of offering her an empowering opportunity to touch her own dream by having the taste of what it feels like to actually embody a vision”. “Miss Uchiyama had just finished school and was looking for an opportunity. Like every single artist, she was going through the brutal reality of facing the oblivion, in a grand scale… so I thought she might be crazy enough to join us in Montreal. Some saw her trip with an infamous rock band as the perfect example of desperation. As for me, I saw it as courage and determination… and yes craziness as well…!” adds Alex.

The following months saw Miss Isabel working on the sketches and prototypes; broken pieces of glass all over, packaging ideas built and rebuilt… “The whole process was nothing short of intense and challenging. We only realized at the very end of the process that we actually have been through the whole spectrum of emotions that inspired us to do the “Red Crown Crane” in the very first place. From broken pieces of glass and ripped pages of books, we truly incarnated those emotions, one step at a time” says Miss Isabel when asked to share about the emotional involvement of such a project.

“It has been such an emotional journey that when we first had a piece of the “Red Crown Crane” in our hand, I knew we had to let go in order for others to define what that project could be about. So I asked Miss Isabel to drop the piece of glass on the floor. She reluctantly looked at me as if I went crazy or something, but she did let go and realized it didn’t break. We both knew it was time to share it all with the world. It felt pretty amazing, to say the least, as we sowed with honest tears and harvested with deep joy. The rest is for others to define, which is the most exciting part of the project” concludes Alex.