Just under half of the hidden Star Jars have been discovered in Vancouver.
Just under half of the hidden Star Jars have been discovered in Vancouver.

While Vancouver residents are frantically searching for cash based on clues from an anonymous benefactor on Twitter, a kinder and gentler treasure hunt is happening across the city with the Star Dust Project.

[pullquote]Finding herself surrounded by a thousand origami stars in jars, artist Holly Baskin surveyed her handiwork thinking that there must be a use for them, and the idea for Star Dust Project was born.[/pullquote]The brainchild of 28 year-old Surrey resident Holly Baskin, the project was inspired by a course on the history of public art that she took a couple of years ago at Langara College and the work of Charles Simonds, who built miniature “dwellings” in the gutters and crevasses of buildings in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

“When we were discussing Simonds’s work my teacher described it as break in reality from everyday city life. It was about disrupting people’s perceptions of the surroundings around them,” explains Baskin. “If you see a bus stop it is just a bus stop. But if you saw a bus stop and a tiny jar of stars it takes on a whole different meaning”.

The creation of the stars also came about as a therapy for the boredom Baskin experienced from her inability to go to work or school due to ankylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes her severe pain and fatigue.

Star Dust Project creator Holly Baskin.
Star Dust Project creator Holly Baskin.

“I have a lot of hobbies and like trying something new, but when I was too sick to do my more labour intensive hobbies, I learned to make origami stars,” she says.

Soon finding herself surrounded by a thousand origami stars in jars, Baskin surveyed her handiwork thinking that there must be a use for them, and the idea for Star Dust Project was born.

After placing fifteen jars in various locations around Vancouver including downtown, Granville Island and in the West End, Baskin says that a little less than half have been discovered so far.

“It is a bit random,” she admits as to where she places the jars, “and it is heavily dependent on the weather. If I’m in an area that will be well populated, I’ll leave a jar.”

And while there may be only fifteen jars in this first wave, Baskin is planning on continuing the project.

“I have a lot stars,” she laughs. “I’m trying to expand the project and you’ll probably see some popping up on the east and southern ends of Vancouver.”

In the meantime there are still eight jars out there, waiting to be discovered.  And perhaps for some, the discovery of a jar full of stars will be a lot more rewarding than any hundred dollar bill.

You can find out more about the Star Dust Project online at http://starjarproject.tumblr.com. You can also sponsor a Star Jar to help cover the cost of the paper and jar, and if you’re lucky enough to find one you can upload a photo and let the world know where you found it.