Eastern entertainment

A program titled “Crafts of the East” allowed students to get acquainted with a few art forms originating from countries such as China, India, Japan and the Middle East by producing do-it-yourself arts and crafts projects. The program, held last Wednesday night in the Townhouses East lounge, engaged participants’ creativity and informed them of artistic practices of Eastern cultures.

Flowers, paper cranes, small animals and bookmarks were crafted out of the mass of square, colored paper provided at the origami table. Annie Yip, senior math, science and technology education major, worked to set up the program among other housing assistants. Annie taught a group standing at the table how to make an origami paper crane. When one of its points is pulled, the bird’s wings flap.

“I learned how to do this in second grade,” Annie said.

Another housing assistant tried constructing an orange origami pig while one student gave up on a lily requiring a bird base. Some students tried making the models by memory.

Hanging lanterns were crafted at the other end of the table. Thin paper lanterns have been made for 2000 years, since the time of China’s Han Dynasty in 200 B.C. Lanterns are often made of rice or silk paper that is stretched over pieces of bamboo in a spherical design. These are found strewn in rooms and vary in size from very small to over two feet in diameter. They are popular in the homes of Asian families, covering light bulbs to soften and accentuate light.

Many students assembled at the henna table as their friends drew on their wrists, arms and ankles with small pouches of henna paste. Henna tattoos, known as Mendhi in India and Pakistan, are drawn onto the skin with a dark paste. The paste is left on until it crumbles away and leaves a beautiful, light brown image. Jenna Meyerberger, junior psychology major, had a Paul Frank-esque skull and crossbones rendered on her forearm with her sorority symbol.

“It’s nice to take a break from homework and experience something different,” Meyerberg said, “normally you don’t get a chance.”