Maybe that's why I was so deeply moved when I saw the work of Rachael Direnna of Pittsburgh. Rachael is a self-taught sculptor who works primarily in paper mache (I know there's an accent mark missing but I have no clue how to get it to float over that "e"), which she makes herself from shredded "junk" paper. She credits the thought of making "something from nothing" and being able to recycle paper as reasons why she chose to create with paper clay.
Her subject matter ranges from animals to people to what she calls "nature spirits" or "tree goddesses". I see immense sadness, strength, elegance and grace when I look at her work. Maybe the sadness it invokes in me comes from the bare branches or maybe it's something more than that.
Part of the beauty of art is that it's such a personal thing for everyone. I see wonderful and well-made things just about every day but I'm rarely moved the way I am when I look at Rachael's sculptures. To see lots more of her amazing work, check out her Flickr site. She also has a shop on Etsy where she sells note cards and prints of her work, in addition to the sculptures. Be kind to your trees this weekend!