Alpaca farmers weave wearable art for exhibition
SOUTH Burnett alpaca farmers have been busy weaving fleece into wearable art to fill the main gallery at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery.
Julia Jeffery is the founding member of the artist group the Alpaca Collective, which also includes her daughter Kirsten, Sam Bowler, and Myrie Cobby.
The group has two alpaca farms in the South Burnett between them, and more than 80 alpacas.
Ms Jeffery is also an active member of the community, and volunteers regularly at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery.
She has been a volunteer there for more than five years, and its secretary of almost three years.
Ms Jeffery said she had been obsessed with alpacas since she came face to face with her one in Nanango.
"I was at this small farms exhibition in Nanango 10 years ago and this lady had a year-old alpaca,” she said.
"I just had to have him, and now I have a whole farm full of alpacas.”
Ms Jeffery said alpacas were quite friendly pets if you handled them from when they were young.
"They're quite lovely to be around and I love having them,” she said.
"Also they're a bit like sheep. We have ours shorn once a year in September and then that gives us enough fleece for our art for the year.
"We always leave 1cm of fleece on them though because they have pink skin, and we really don't want them to burn.
"Also it can still be a little chilly that time of year. We don't want them to be uncomfortable.”
The Alpaca Collective has displayed four exhibitions at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery.
Ms Jeffery said when the current exhibition wrapped up at the end of June, the group would be back to it, preparing for next year's show.
"We really just think it's a great way to showcase agriculture and arts in the South Burnett,” she said.
"The response we've had so far has been overwhelming. We've sold heaps and have already had to bring in more art to fill in spots.
"We just love being able to share our works and passion with the community here.”