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Not just in a figurative sense – indeed, she has created a number of artistic successes – but also quite literally on a roll; her delightful dioramas staged inside cardboard toilet rolls have proved a big hit on art-and-craft websites and blogs.

For her series entitled "Rouleaux" (French for, you"ve guessed it, "Rolls"), the 36-year-old has made paper cut-outs depicting faceless characters and evocative objects which she then attaches to the sidewalls of toilet roll tubes to create a 3-D scene.

Through skilful backlighting and the use of light and shadow, the scenes superbly come to life and are beautifully captured thanks to some neat macro-photography.

The Paris-based painter, illustrator and collage creator can remember the moment she came up with the idea to turn a toilet roll into a micro-stage.

"I have fun finding out what can I do with materials that I have gathered and one day, in May 2009, I looked at an empty toilet roll and wondered if I could do something with it,"
she says.

And so Anastassia set to work, using manicure scissors and a Stanley knife to cut the small paper shapes. She chooses the paper so that it is the same colour as the roll to give the illusion that the paper shapes make part of the roll. She then uses tweezers to place the shapes within the roll, typically sliding the cut-outs into tiny slits in the tube walls.

"I make sure that the items don"t encroach on each other so that they best capture the light," she says before adding: "I need a few hours to make one piece."

The scenes run the gamut of "the everyday" including a football match, tango ballroom, a visit to the zoo, a boxing bout, a serene fisherman, handymen at work, an old woman snoozing in her rocking chair, a woman putting out her washing, a classroom of studious (or possibly bored) pupils, a hair salon and the Canadian Arctic wilderness.

"I am inspired by the anonymous, by people around me," says Anastassia. "The word "story" is probably the key word to my work because I think my work tells stories. You can find the human figure in most of my works."

More recently, Anastassia has been working on ink drawings for a book of poetry, while a "concertina book" of poetry comprising 48 pages of collage is another one of her long-term projects.

The talented artist has also done some impressive oil paintings, as can be seen on her website, though she admits that working with paper is what she enjoys most.

"I have experimented a lot with paper: Paper cutting, 3-D collages, torn paper collages," she says. "So, probably my favourite medium is paper."

If you would like to buy prints of scenes from Anastassia Elias" "Rouleaux" series, please click

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