Article and Photo
Article and Photo

Article from
Western Farm, Ranch & Dairy Magazine
Southwest/Rocky Mtn.-fall/winter edition 2005-06
a division of Ritz Family Publishing, Inc.
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The Last Frontier

"Wonder what to put up in your den, office or lodge?  Why not an original mosaic glass tiled bison mount created by Alaskan artist, Ruby Hollembaek.

Artist and rancher
, Ruby Hollembaek, had a novel idea.  What about taking the bleached bison skulls that husband, Scott Hollembaek, sold every year to hunters in and around Alaska and creating a piece of artwork.  What about mosaic?  At first, it was difficult to convince Scott.  Ruby actually had to hide the bison skulls in their raw form in the barn in order to begin the process.  Scott just wasn’t convinced but once he saw the final product, he hated to sell any of the pieces.


Art is not a stranger to Ruby.  She comes from a long line of artists both on her mom and dad’s side of the family.  Ruby’s grandmother, Mae Herman Blatchford, made her earnings skin sewing and beading.  She was Inupiaq Eskimo from Shishmaref, Alaska.  Her other grandparents, Les and Elma McCaughey Peck did antique restoration, and operated a second hand store and lamp shop in Helena, Montana.  Art just comes second nature to Ruby, besides now that she was retired from teaching in Alaska, she needed another source of income and a creative outlet. 


These bison skulls are taken from the harvested animals on the artist's ranch. 


The skulls are cleaned and prepared for the original mosaic artwork that will make each piece its own. Each skull is boiled, cleaned, bleached and dried. The horns are given a high gloss treatment by scraping them with a glass shard. The bison skull is laid out while a design and color is created specifically for it. Once the colors and designs have been determined each glass mosaic piece is cut and glued onto the skull. When finished, the skull is grouted, sponged off, buffed by hand and sprayed with a waterproof seal.


Currently, Scott and Ruby  run a bison, elk & reindeer ranch on 2,000 acres of private land 25 miles south of Delta Junction, Alaska. Both Scott and Ruby were born and raised in Alaska.  They love the 'last frontier' and enjoy the challenges of farming/ranching in the interior of Alaska.