When wildlife artist Sheila Cooper first began experimenting with handmade paper as a medium on which to paint, she would add chopped grass and other plant fibres to her pulp to give it an interesting and attractive texture. Although the result was pleasing, Sheila found that chopping the leaves was very time consuming.
Early in 1987, while hiking in a Natal Nature Reserve, she spotted a rhino midden and realised that the dung was basically chopped grass and plant fibre. Initially she thought the idea of boiling up dung and using it in paper quite ludicrous, but when she finally experimented with this fibre the result was a most interesting and unique paper, the best she had ever made.
Since then she has continued to paint the wildlife of Africa, in watercolours, on papers made with elephant and rhino dung and other fibres from all over the African continent, sometimes combining various papers of contrasting textures to create her unique expression of this environment.
During 1994, with the help of her sons Mark and John, Sheila also started producing a range of frameable gift cards and mounted limited edition prints which will become collector's pieces.