Anastassia Elias' Toilet Paper Roll Sculpture: The Tiniest Salvaged Achievement

Where Thomas Aquinas' medieval mind pondered how many angels fit on the head of a pin, Anastassia Elias' modern spirit asks how many miniature people can squeeze inside a roll of toilet paper. Call it a statement of the times: Deep questions about heavenly things have been replaced by those about bathroom ones — about what's going on right here on earth. With extreme environmental consciousness, Elias's darkly-intimate, toilet paper sculptures elevate one of the least-revered, salvaged materials to the level of fine art.

Formally a painter and illustrator, Elias gives us her most intriguing work with the sculptural scenes she carves into brown toilet paper rolls. Keeping the rolls' exterior cardboard ring intact, Elias creates tiny works depicting ordinary people sitting in a classroom, dancing and hanging laundry to dry. And while clearly there's something aesthetically moving about these tiny dioramas, there's also a message as intellectually powerful about the environment — about the potential to find beauty in the things we so easily toss away.

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(Images: Anastassia Elias)