As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people’s wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.”
Yoko Ono: “All My Works Are A Form Of Wishing”
Yoko Ono has picked up on and modernized a 2000 year old tradition called tanabata wherein people write their wishes on tanzaku (colorful, small strips of paper) and hang them on trees. These temple wishes can be seen throughout Japanese art history, from this circa 1675 byobu (screen) by Tosa Mitsuoki now held by the The Art Institute of Chicago, to this 1852 woodblock print by Hiroshige, from his Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji series.
Ono’s project, begun in 1996, is to have wish trees placed all over the world and those wishes for peace gathered together for her Imagine Peace Tower. From the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City…
… to the United States Ambassador’s residence here in Tokyo. It was my first viewing of this wish tree that inspired me to do something similar for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. How about a wish tree for her, and while we were at it, why not have it be cherry blossoms, in tune with both the season and event?
As the idea progressed in my mind, I thought it would be lovely to actually have the tags be shaped like sakura blossoms. Unfortunately, no matter where I looked I could not find any already made and thus this became a DIY project. Luckily for me, the uber-talented Alisha of Felt So Cute had moved to Tokyo this year and become a great friend! She is a crafting maestro and has all the tools that go with the title including some kind of vinyl cutter called a Silhouette. She found a cherry blossom shape and set the program to cut out the blossoms from three shades of pink cardstock.
We used a pretty hemp twine to make the tie strings and put a sign (using our logo again) in a silver photo frame.
I used one of my antique Seto porcelain planters to hold the pot and bought some moss to cover the not-so-attractive soil.
Here’s what it looked like set up before the party.
And here is what it looked like about halfway through the evening.
We are going to harvest the wishes tomorrow and plant the tree behind our house. I thought about sending them to Yoko, but we may just have to keep them for our scrapbook.
A Little Bat Mitzvah Inspiration…Sakura Season in Japan