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Dung Art for your Yard

| 6/11/2009 4:15:57 PM


On Saturdays I work at Bell Gallery, a small art gallery and studio located in Denver. On my first day at work I learned about dung bunnies when Susan Bell, artist, gallery owner and creator of the eco-sculptures, handed me one. Shocked by the lack of manure odor and taken back by its cute appearance, I learned that these sculptures are garden-friendly because it slowly decomposes in yards during the course of a year.

Bell came across the idea for eco-sculptures when she felt inspired by Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary (1999), which was encrusted with elephant dung. The controversial piece sparked Bell’s creativity and she began planning her own form of “shock art.” However, her “shock art” was not so shocking due to its environmentally friendly use.

Photo courtesy of Susan Bell.

Bell sculpts small animals such as frogs, birds and bunnies, out of manure she collects from her horses. She spent months developing the right kind of mold out of the right kind of materials and eventually found the perfect combination—using plasticine would shape and hold the manure in place. So that the dung remains odor-free, Bell constructed composting bins out of wire mesh where she mixes the material a few times a year. Because the texture has to be of a certain weight, the process takes roughly two years.

The eco-sculptures range in both size and price, costing anywhere from $8 for a small snail to $28 for a large cat. They can be purchased online or at the Bell Gallery.

What do you think about these dung bunnies? Do you have something similar in your yard to help fertilize the soil? Let’s chat about it; drop me a comment or email me at

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