Artist creates origami crane memorial for COVID-19 victims

Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, adjusts one of of the thousands of origami cranes hanging during an exhibit honoring the vict...
Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, adjusts one of of the thousands of origami cranes hanging during an exhibit honoring the vict...
Origami cranes hang inside the Matter Studio Gallery during an exhibit honoring those who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020,...
Origami paper cranes hang in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S. of COVID-19, on Tuesday, A...
An origami crane made from a newspaper comic strip hangs with thousands of others during a memorial exhibit for the victims of COVID-19 at the Matter ...
Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, talks about the thousands of origami paper cranes hanging in an exhibit honoring the victims ...
An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U...
An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U...
Origami paper cranes hang in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S. of COVID-19, on Tuesday, A...
Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, poses outside her gallery displaying a window of origami paper cranes during an exhibit "Hono...
An origami paper crane with the names of victims of police violence hangs with thousands of other cranes in an exhibit for those who have died in the ...

Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, adjusts one of of the thousands of origami cranes hanging during an exhibit honoring the vict...

Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, adjusts one of of the thousands of origami cranes hanging during an exhibit honoring the vict...

Origami cranes hang inside the Matter Studio Gallery during an exhibit honoring those who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020,...

Origami paper cranes hang in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S. of COVID-19, on Tuesday, A...

An origami crane made from a newspaper comic strip hangs with thousands of others during a memorial exhibit for the victims of COVID-19 at the Matter ...

Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, talks about the thousands of origami paper cranes hanging in an exhibit honoring the victims ...

An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U...

An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U...

Origami paper cranes hang in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S. of COVID-19, on Tuesday, A...

Artist Karla Funderburk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery, poses outside her gallery displaying a window of origami paper cranes during an exhibit "Hono...

An origami paper crane with the names of victims of police violence hangs with thousands of other cranes in an exhibit for those who have died in the ...

An artist in Los Angeles is memorializing each of the thousands of people who have died from COVID-19 in the United States with a delicate origami crane.

Karla Funderburk started making the cranes three months ago, stringing the paper swans in pink, blue, yellow and many other colors together and hanging them in her art gallery.

“I was feeling the loss, and one way to process that was I started folding cranes. Cranes are a traditional Japanese symbol of carrying the soul to heaven,” she said.

She tried making 10 cranes each night but when on May 14 the number of deaths ticked to 88,000 she realized it would take her 24 years to complete them and she asked for help.

Now volunteers drop off scores of the elegantly made paper swans daily.

"I started receiving boxes and bags. Sometimes I would get one crane with one name on it, some boxes had 300,” she said.

Hundreds now hang from the ceiling of her Matter Studio with others sitting on tables and stacked in boxes waiting to be added to the sad reminder of the virus’ toll. The gallery's website also lists hundreds of names of virus victims.

“I feel like this space is holding, holding the place, for the remembrances of the souls we are losing.”

More than 165,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.