Completed in 2003, the Friendship Quilt features 1,000 cranes appliqued onto fabric squares and along its border. Created by multiple hands, the quilt was pieced together by Ms. Sayuri "Anne" Clausen in a manner distinctive to Hawaiian quilting. When completed, it was exhibited in both Hawaii and Japan, where it touched many viewers, including relatives of individuals killed on September 11, 2001. Ms. Clausen presented the quilt and its supporting documentation to the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
The design impetus arises from an ancient Japanese legend that promises that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by the crane honored in origami form. A creature that has assumed mythical significance partly due to the popular belief that it has a lifespan of a thousand years, the crane has become associated in Asia with healing properties. In Japanese popular culture, the Thousand Origami Cranes (Senbazuru or Zenbazuru) has come to reference world peace through the poignant story of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who contracted leukemia as a result of radiation from the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Chains of brightly hued paper cranes were a familiar sight decorating firehouses, respite centers, neighborhood schools, and the border areas around Lower Manhattan's “'frozen zone”' in the weeks and months after 9/11.
In the aftermath of 9/11, an astonishing array of group quilting projects emerged in response to the tragedy. With its reliance on the ancient, perdurable crane symbol, Ms. Clausen's Friendship Quilt epitomizes the joined endeavor of individuals across the world to express healing sentiments during a time of turmoil and emotional unrest while suggesting how the vision of one woman could rally compassion from many to create an uplifting, collective tribute to the innocent lives lost that day.