Newspapers are a funny thing. On printing day, they are incredibly valuable. Without them, local residents wouldn’t know the goings on of their town or city and websites would have extremely fewer resources at their disposal. However, the day right after printing day, you will find stacks of the very same newspaper millions of people read the day before, stacked on curbs, lying around the subway, and wrapped around fish at the local market. Although the average newspaper today is made of a high amount of recycled fiber and can be recycled again to make things like cereal boxes, tissue paper, and even new newspapers, a good deal of it, just like plastic waste, ends up in landfills.

But what if we could do something more useful with newspapers? What if we could make something out of newspapers that benefited the world instead of just filling it with more garbage? Well, Japanese artist Chie Hitotsuyama is doing just that with her latest exhibition in which she uses recycled newspaper to craft realistic sculptures of animals.


In order to make the intricate structures, Hitotsuyama first carefully selects individual pieces of newspaper based on the color of the ink. Then, piece by piece, she wets each one, rolls it between her hands, and glues it into place. Finishing a large sculpture can sometimes take months but considering the stunning result, we’d say it’s well worth the time and effort! 

Hitotsuyama rolls the sheets in different ways depending on the animals. Some she leaves loose to emulate the flowing movement of fur, others are tightly wound to appear like scales or shells. 

Having grown up in a family that ran a paper mill, Hitotsuyama’s material of choice doesn’t come as much of a surprise. However, she also cites a personal passion for animals as a driving force in her work.

 “A piece of newspaper is fragile and the existence of animals is vulnerable, but I feel the strength in them,” she says in an interview with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Hitotsuyama’s work is on exhibition through January 7 at the Museum of Art and History’s satellite gallery, MOAH: CEDAR in Lancaster, California where she also plans to create a new series focusing on the native wildlife of Southern California.  The Los Angeles Times has even donated 1,000-plus pounds of newspaper for the project!

To get a closer look at Hitotsuyama’s amazing work, watch below: 



Hitotsuyama’s exhibition is incredible in a number of ways. Not only is she wowing guests (and us) with her newspaper creations, but she is highlighting the beauty of various wild animals (something the world could definitely use a reminding of), inspiring others to think creatively when it comes to discarded materials, and reminding the world that amazing things can be made with what others deem as “trash.”  Guess the saying is right – someone’s trash is truly another person’s treasure. Can’t wait to see Hitotsuyama’s next series! To learn more about her work, click here.


All image source: Ayako Hoshino