Art Therapy

My Wire Bonsai Trees Saved My Life

A traumatic double mastectomy going terribly wrong led Sarah Jane Oiler to turn to art during her recovery. She hopes her “trees of life” inspire others as they navigate their own cancer experience.
February 2019 Vol 5 No 1
Sarah Jane Oiler
Breast Cancer Survivor
Weaverville, North Carolina

I am a 7-year breast cancer survivor. What was supposed to be a very simple and routine double mastectomy went horribly wrong, resulting in 12 reconstructive surgeries and almost 2 years of recovery. I began making unique wire bonsai trees during my recovery. I got the original idea from a wire bonsai tree my great-grandmother made in the early 1970s. I needed something to keep my head and hands busy. The pain of all the surgeries and healing problems made my recovery very difficult. Creating wire bonsai trees saved my life!

I begin with a single 45-foot spool of copper-coated wire, turning every branch by hand. I then add a complementary array of beads and fix it to a base using additional wire. The base of my trees are driftwood, amethyst, crystals or unique stones. I also make tree of life dream catchers, and tree of life wire bonsai wall art. I hope this provides an inspiration to others who are enduring the journey of cancer and its treatments.

See more of my art at Facebook/beansbonsai.

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Last modified: March 4, 2019

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