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Dung beetles are famed for their ability to get rid of manure.  Some roll it into balls, some tunnel beneath piles and some live inside the dung pats.  The adults will eat it as well as lay their eggs in it and farmers would be hard-pressed to keep their pastures clean without these insects.  They are the ultimate recyclers!

Dichotomius carolinus Col. Jct., IA  June 20, 1966

Dichotomius carolinus
Col. Jct., IA June 20, 1966

I was given several large specimens of dung beetles (Dichotomius carolinus) when I was in college and since they had such a cool shape I thought they would make a good demo for my insect sculpture workshop and class.

First I drew the beetle from several different angles, discovering that its eyes were divided.

Dung beetle sketch ©2013 Karen A Johnson

Dung beetle sketch
©2013 Karen A Johnson

Then I started my armature with copper wire and aluminum foil and the sculpting fun could begin…

Copper wire armature

Copper wire armature

Armature with foil

Armature with foil

First round of sculpting and baking

First round of sculpting and baking

Ready for sanding and finishing-top view

Ready for sanding and finishing-top view

Bottom view

Bottom view

After many rounds of baking, sanding, adding a patina and sealing, I began designing the necklace to go with my sculpture.  I couldn’t resist adding lava rock beads even though I believe this beetle is a tunneler.  His shape just seemed to go best with balls and circles!  Hope you enjoyed this peek into my process…

Dung Beetle necklace and earrings-polymer, copper, lava rock, Swarovski crystals and glass beads ©2013 Karen A Johnson

Dung Beetle necklace and earrings-polymer, copper, lava rock, Swarovski crystals and glass beads
©2013 Karen A Johnson

Dung Beetle necklace and earrings ©2013 Karen A Johnson

Dung Beetle necklace and earrings
©2013 Karen A Johnson

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