From Dung to Gold - The Ultimate in Recycled Paper
Idaho artists create hand made paper and artwork from Bison Dung and Recycled Paper Waste!
Tatanka (Tuh-tahn-ka) is the Lakota Indian word for "bull bison", or scientifically, the American Bison (bison bison). In the Native American culture, the bison is revered as a powerful, spiritual deity, which had once numbered in the millions throughout North America.
Although they were in the midst of plenty, Native Americans were frugal with this important resource. The bison provided not only much needed food and clothing, but a variety of items and tools made by utilizing every last bit of the animal, including the dung in dried form!
Bison chips (dried dung), made for an excellent campfire fuel. An even lesser known fact is that the dung was also used as a type of baby powder to help keep infants dry and comfortable. Now, Eastern Idaho artists, Victor Bruha and and Hidalgo have found yet another clever use for the chips...bison dung hand-made paper!
Dung & Dunger (www.dunganddunger.net) is the name of a new company started by artists Victor Bruha and Dan Hidalgo. Basically, their business is dung and lots of it....Bison dung that is.
What the two have created, is the ultimate in recycling. They have created a "recipe" that allows them to create art paper from the dung of American Bison. "We create hand-made papers from Bison Dung. It is that simple. The nice thing about it is that the sheets are very rustic and beautiful and make for an excellent medium for our artwork!" states artist, Victor Bruha.
Dung & Dunger is based from a home studio in Blackfoot, Idaho. A short drive from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Victor and Dan are avid outdoor enthusiasts and spend much of their time exploring the wonders of the area...including the dung.
Dung & Dunger is the realized dream taking what seems would be the impossible task of turning dung into serious and respectable art. While most recognized wildlife artists follow the worn and beaten path of conservative realism and decorative predictability, Victor Bruha and Dan Hidalgo have created beautiful and original works of art using traditional and ancient methods with the world's first Bison Dung Papers.
The two are currently working on finalizing the methods used to also create a line of Elk Dung Papers. Elk are even more abundant that the bison...even though collecting the pellets takes significantly more time than nice, dried bison pies.
The first question before all others is, "Why in the world would anyone do this?".
It is a good question, however the answer is simply, "Why not?".
"Basically, as artists, we are always looking for unique ways to express ourselves. We have both always had a good sense of humor (as twisted as it may be) and have also possessed a love for the Rocky Mountain wilderness."
"Creating paper out of dung was inspired by a successful group in Thailand that was creating paper from the dung of elephants. After reading about them, CLICK-CLICK-CLICK, we realized that right in our own back yard were herds of the largest land mammals in North America, the American Bison! Not only large, but exciting to watch. The bison conjures up images of the wild west and untamed lands yet to be explored. Thus, our paper has also captured some of the bisons wildness in its rough and natural appearance, color and texture. We are currently marketing our work to gift shops that cater to tourists in and around the Greater Yellowstone region and will soon offer our products online for everyone, everywhere to view and purchase. Although it has been a bit hit so far, we are still not sure how successful we may be, but believe the Yellowstone tourist market will be very receptive."
"Well, it isn't quite like making lemonade out of lemons, but I guess it's close!" says Bruha, "Our real hope and dream is simply to share a bit of
the unique beauty and history of this great wilderness we find so enchanting. For those that buy one of our pieces of art, we wish you a lifetime of enjoyment. And if it forever brings a smile to your soul, we will have considered it a JOB WELL DUNG!"
Art can be seen and ordered through their website:
New works are being added continuously.
For interviews and/or photo, please contact Victor Bruha @ 785-0550 day or 782-3512 eve.