Something common, yet quirky, standing in for needed scarce trees

5″ x 5″ drawing in a 10″ x 10″ frame (click here to see painting framed)
See all artwork available for sale.

My senior year of college an attention-grabbing piece of installation art was exhibited in the university’s library. The artist had collected all of the wasted paper from the library (discarded copies, the unwanted last pages of print outs, etc) for what I’m vaguely remembering to be one month. From the artist’s harvest, he/she was able to literally create a towering white paper mountain utilizing the library’s open atrium.

Upon entering the front doors, guilt immediately made itself at home on my shoulder since I knew that somewhere in that bleached tree cemetery were my piles of reject copies from a recent typography class project. I thought twice, as I’m sure many other students did, before clicking “print” that day.

The exhibit resurfaced in my memory for the first time earlier this year when I read a short snippet in ODE magazine about a small company that takes paper recycling to a new level. Instead of the usual process of washing, pulping, bleaching and so on, gathered items such as outdated maps and calendars are used to make super hip stationary.

The man behind the idea tells an amusing story of actualization of his entrepreneurial potential while in the midst of what many would call a career slump:

“Olaf Hagedorn…came up with the idea when he was unemployed and found himself staring at piles of handwritten job-application letters containing small mistakes. Considering a way to refuse the paper, he folded it into envelopes. He then expanded this simple idea into a large-scale operation, using higher quality second hand paper: outdated maps, calendars and printed matter with a few flaws.”

You can shop online for these paper products here. This is one of several suggestions I will be making between now and Christmas for socially and environmentally thoughtful gift ideas.

Also worth mentioning: what I assume is simply the American vendor of this stationary primarily focuses on producing claymation films that “motivate people to protect and preserve natural habitats for all future generations’ health and enjoyment.” Go figure. Here’s one for your viewing pleasure…


  • Hi Ashley! Mike Pateras sent me the link to your site and I’ve been loving it– what a great combination of beautiful images and thoughtful commentary.

    I wanted to say “hi,” but also to thank you for the link to the recycled map envelopes. I think I might buy some for my Christmas card run this year.

    Hope you’re doing well!

  • I’m so glad to hear from you Elizabeth. You’re illustrations are beautiful! I especially like the one of the woman kneeling in the garden.

    Let me know how the recycled map envelopes turn out. I might order some as well.

  • Ashley Cecil on

    Thank you Molly. If you’re interested my work, you can email me at ashley (dot) cecil (at) Otherwise, I’m not sure where to point you if you’re not in the Louisville area (and I would still have to think about someone around here with a strong focus on nature scenery). You might start by looking up your local arts council/assoc. They usually have artist directories.

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