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[things to make with toilet rolls]artist draws intricate european cityscapes on 11 meters of toilet paper

  when faced with the pandemic lockdown of 2020, artist nethmie hetti decided to turn pen to paper… toilet paper. over the course of 320 days, hetti drew intricate european cityscapes and landscapes onto a single roll of toilet paper to create a continuous 11 meter long panorama. the final work is very aptly called ‘the escape roll’, and it serves as a reflection on the artist’s past travels.

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  images and video courtesy of nethmie hetti

  the toilet paper displays a coarse, waved textured imprint, which allowed the black pen ink to borrow the same coarse texture, adding its own depth and detail to what would usually be a flat drawing if seen on a blank piece of paper. hetti shifted between cross-hatching, stippling, to scribbling drawing techniques.

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  the work took 320 days to complete

  due to the extremely fragile nature of the paper, the artist adopted a gentle approach that prevented her micron pen from blotching. hetti also steadily controlled the pressure applied to the pen, especially when adding shadows and small details, to avoid tearing the toilet paper apart. the escape roll, when observed from afar, shows the outline of every mountain, tree, roof, lamp pole and cobblestone. up close, you begin to see the scribbles, the thousands of stippled dots and lines that come together at a macro view. you can take a virtual tour of the escape roll on the dedicated instagram page here.

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  the final piece is a continuous 11 meter long panorama

  ‘there were days when all I could look forward to was drawing on this endless canvas,’ says hetti about her experience of drawing the escape roll. ‘there were days when i’d drawn for so long that i’d have the urge to impulsively rip it into pieces. there were days when I would make a mistake in my drawing, and feel tempted to throw away the entire roll. but then, I realized it’s not about erasing mistakes or creating the illusion of a picture-perfect canvas. rather, it’s about being able to pick up and keep going, knowing that you can give yourself the opportunity to become better at your own craft.’

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  the cities reflect on the artist’s past travels

  ‘it was a constant work in progress. I was able to observe my own evolution in the drawing style improving with every hour I poured in. you could see the craftsmanship becoming more and more detailed as time passed. the strokes, more confident. as the madness of absorbing myself into this continuous roll of toilet paper progressed day in, day out, it also provided me with routine, tranquility, creativity, and solace during difficult times.’

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  close ups of the various cityscapes and landscapes

  hetti continues, ‘virginia woolf once said ‘happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. a table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. and the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent.’ how true is it that ordinary objects that sit in everyone’s home without any significance (like toilet paper), suddenly became a symbol of 2020? I redefined what this household item meant to me by simply making it my art therapy.’

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  the grassy hills of granada, spain

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  the end of the roll

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  take a virtual tour of the escape roll on instagram

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  the artist with the escape roll

  project info:

  name: the escape roll

  artist: nethmie hetti

  designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  edited by: lynne myers | designboom