Cranes of Tessa Davis


Lucas Silva

After folding, Tessa uses a dry-erase marker to update her crane-count inside the jar’s lid. Here, it reads “127”.

Cecilia Joseph, Editor

Since July, Tessa Davis ‘21 has been creasing paper squares into the shape of birds. Where she sits in PreCalculus, a pile of cranes sits beside her. In Art, she is folding them. During Study Hall she continues.


They vary in size and color, the smallest just the length of a pinky nail. Completing a crane takes about a minute, longer for the smaller ones.


“You have to be more careful,” Tessa said.


Tessa’s relationship with origami began in May, when she learned how to fold paper hearts. She made gifts of them and taught Samantha Watson ‘20 how to do the same.


Her general interest in art revealed itself much earlier.  


“I look back on my old drawings from when I was 4, and they look like trash. I guess it was just a way to channel my ADHD- just to draw,” Tessa said.


While she admits folding birds also serves as an outlet for energy, there is perhaps more intent to this incessant folding. Bored one day, she discovered a Japanese legend.


“If you fold a thousand paper cranes by yourself, then you get a wish- or sometimes it says that if you gift it to other people, they get eternal happiness, or can get cured of any illness.” Tessa said.


On September 12, she estimated 587 completed cranes. Four hundred she keeps at home. The remaining 187 she keeps with her. There was a time when she carried them in jar by hand from class to class.


“I feel like that’s kind of weird, because when people see it they’re like ‘Oh, she’s odd,’” Tessa said.


Now, after depositing a session’s worth of folding, she tucks the Mason jar into her backpack. This method is only somewhat more discreet, though.


“Oh yeah, tons of people [comment on the cranes],” Tessa said. “They ask, like, what I’m doing.”


Once she explains, curiosity rises.


“They’ll be like ‘Oh, that’s really cool,’ and I have actually taught a couple people.” Tessa said.


Whether Tessa will see a wish soon granted is yet to be discovered.


“I’m not superstitious, but I take an interest in superstition” she said.