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If life hands you an empty toilet roll, …

It’s mid-February, this is my first blog post of 2013, and I decide to write about empty toilet rolls.


A picture on Facebook had me drop the tidying-up-so-I-could-work project and rush to the keyboard. The artist, Yuken Teruya, has cut delicate, beautiful trees out of toilet paper rolls with the base rooted in the roll and the branches reaching out to the world. A picture of his toilet-paper-roll tree is circulating on the internet, and it made its way to my friend’s Facebook page. (I’m not posting an image here to avoid copyright issues.)

Flashback to my time in Nairobi, Kenya and my son’s nursery school years. I saved all sorts of “garbage” for their arts and crafts classes. Art material was expensive because it was imported, and there was plenty of good material available right at hand: egg cartons, silver and gold linings from cigarette packages, and… empty toilet rolls. I used to take a bag of that sort of thing to the nursery school, and it was appreciated.

Then we moved to Denmark where art material is not so expensive. I had the saving-up habit, you know, so I show up at the kindergarten one day with a bag of toilet rolls and such. They gave me very blank looks and a definite “no, thank you”. They probably wrote up a note to watch out for that crazy mom.

I was annoyed and frustrated. All that trash going to waste. It’s just raw material and the sky is the limit with the imagination, right? But no, I had to go back to throwing out that stuff just like everyone else.

And now, today, I see that a real live artist also sees the potential in toilet rolls! Hurrah for Yuken Teruya! He turns them into a delicate forest. And honorable mention goes to Anastassia Elias and her dioramas, although she “just” uses the rolls to hold her dioramas. I found her in my search for the source of the meme, which didn’t identify the artist of the first photo I saw.

Sometimes it is nice to have that “I told you so!” feeling. 🙂

My point? Don’t be quick to judge! Open your mind to potential. (She says, staring at the pile of paper that needs to be tidied up so she can work…)

One Comment

  1. Sarah Bourne
    Sarah Bourne 17 February 2013

    I doubt I coud carve a tree from a toilet paper roll, or at least none I would be likely to share! But I could possibly make atree with one. I saw a great tip the other day: use toilet paper rolls to start seedlings. It’s so obvious and brilliant, yet it had never occurred to me.

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