Bothell jewelry designer creating ‘cranes for peace’ to fight Asian hate

BOTHELL,. Wash. — A Bothell jewelry designer is using paper cranes to fight hate against Asian Americans. Now she is hoping to spread a message of peace.

Violence against Asian Americans in Seattle and across the country has been painful for an entire community.

Now, an amateur jewelry designer is turning that pain into wearable art, raising money to fight Asian hate.

Fay Lim has made jewelry by hand for about 10 years. But it was just a hobby, a way to scratch her artistic itch, until she saw a vicious attack on a Japanese language teacher at Inglemoor High School and the teacher’s boyfriend.

It happened in March of 2021 as the couple strolled in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

“I reacted because my kids go to that school,” Lim said. “And that’s pretty dramatic. This is hitting really close to home.”

So close, Lim had to act.

“I decided I needed to start a campaign,” she said.

She turned first to a friend whose hobby is folding origami cranes.

“So, she started folding for me,” Lim said. “And I started using beads transforming these beautiful cranes into earrings.”

Thus, “cranes for peace” were born.

“Cranes bring good luck,” said Lim. “And there is a saying, ‘a thousand cranes, you can grant a wish.’ And that’s the wish of peace.”

It is actually a sense of “peace” and security that these attacks have taken from so many in the Asian community.

But what began as a fundraiser to help others turns out to be painfully personal for Lim, too.

“Someone’s got to do it,” she said, her voice breaking. “Someone’s got to raise the level. Excuse me. It is personal. I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. I’ve experienced it. And I hope the next generation doesn’t have to go through this. It hurts. It really does. I was bullied, it’s hard to talk about, just because of my color, my hair, my eyes.”

It was at that point that Lim asked us to turn off the camera. After regaining her composure, she related an incident when she was in middle school in Seattle.

“My mother had me grow my hair down to my waist,” remembered Lim. “And in one class, someone came up behind me and used my hair, we were in a cooking class, and used my hair as a towel to wipe their hands. So, I’ve been bullied. And it scars you, makes it hard.”

The first museum to agree to sell Lim’s crane earrings was the Schack Art Center in Everett. Then two more museums agreed as well — the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds and the Bellevue Arts Museum, too.

All of it is to help spread a message of peace.

“I want the next generation to know we care, people are listening, if they need help,” said Lim. “We’ve got to stop harassment, stop the violence.”

She is working to do that, one “crane for peace” at a time.

Each pair of Fay Lim’s “cranes for peace” earrings cost $60. A portion of each purchase is donated to “Stop AAPI Hate.”

In just 10 months, Lim has donated $2,000 to the organization.

Find the earrings at this link.