World Alpaca Conference
This is an annual, three day event that is hosted by different countries; this year it was England’s turn and the beautiful surroundings of Keble College, Oxford was the venue. The lectures and presentations were incredibly insightful to all things alpaca and Wednesday was fleece day. Tracy sat avidly taking notes about genetic inheritance traits (so that each new set of cria are better than the last), scientific abbreviations to describe primary, secondary and medulated fibres, how breeding strategies and protocols used in merino sheep can be cross referenced to the alpaca world and increase the quality of fibre being produced, how the environment can influence fibre growth on the alpaca and how to reduce problematic fibres (with a view to eventually breeding them out). How to… well, you get the picture!
The highlight of Wednesday was the fashion show. Fashion Design Students across the country were invited to come up with a themed strategy that encapsulated the alpaca story. These story boards were assessed and fourteen students were chosen to be sponsored by alpaca breeders. Purl Alpaca Designs sponsored Lucy Cox and this is her story board. After all, it seemed only fair that we sponsor someone as Kari-Helene had benefited from being sponsored herself (all those years ago when she was a mere slip of a university student)!
Lucy is a student at Winchester School of Art, Southampton University and studying knitwear for fashion. She was tasked with the design and manufacture of a garment that reflected her story board and made from British alpaca yarn.
In her speech, Lucy described how her inspiration for this project came while researching alpacas. Looking at the landscapes in Peru led her to the Inca tribe, which greatly influenced her work, particularly the craft feel to their clothing. She found the images and history inspiring for ideas of colour and texture. Using natural colour tones such as creams, beige and browns brought these textures to detail the fabric. Lucy used a Brother domestic knitting machine and used hand manipulating techniques such as e-wrapping; Lucy then developed the punch-card to create the pattern detail on the back of her garment.
We think Lucy has created a contemporary and unique look and that she should be justly proud of her achievements.