Janetta Bauer

der Bauernhof Farms
Ellsworth, Illinois, United States

Why do you read Alpaca Culture?
My initial perception of Alpaca Culture, from the very first issue, was that here is a magazine that is interested in and supports the alpaca fiber industry. Since its beginning, each issue has been a wealth of information on all aspects of the fiber end of the business and is an ongoing resource for us and our customers and those who work for us about the benefits of alpaca fiber over any other natural or synthetic fiber.

What articles have you enjoyed in the past?
Understanding and appreciating alpaca as a luxury fiber product is an educational process, so many of the articles that we have really enjoyed are those that raise fiber awareness. While we understand the value of alpaca, it is always beneficial for us to have documentation that supports our sales pitch. We have a select group of Alpaca Culture articles that are required reading for college interns that work with us to learn the fiber business, and as additional information for artisans who work with us to create our clothing designs. We also provide this information to our customers and to galleries that sell our wearable art as it assists them in educating their customers on the value and unique benefits of owning alpaca fiber clothing.

We are in the process of refreshing our 5 Miles East brand, and a recent article on hang tags in Alpaca Culture hit the spot perfectly for us and our graphic designers to provide hang tags that were appropriate for our customer and our product.

What is your favorite type of article?
No industry or business has the time or the luxury of resting on its laurels, so our favorite articles focus on where the industry is going or what cutting-edge designers are doing to constantly improve the market for alpaca fiber products. These types of articles encourage us to be more creative with our products and to initiate more unique marketing approaches with our own business.

The following reading list of Alpaca Culture articles is required every semester for the Family and Consumer Sciences course interns at Illinois State University.

  • “What’s So Great About Alpaca Fiber” by Meyla Bianco Johnston. September 2012
  • “Perspectives: Supply Chain” Quality Designation. September 2012
  • “Fiber Producing Animals.” September 2012
  • “Overview of Processing,” Chapter 10 excerpt from A Definitive Guide to Alpaca Fibre by Cameron Holt. September 2013
  • Designer Profile: Beatriz Canedo Patiño. September 2013
  • “Fiber Fusion: All About Alpaca Blends” by Meyla Bianco Johnston. September 2013
  • “EPD Program” by Darby Vannier, [Former] Executive Director of Alpaca Registry, Inc. September 2013
  • Illustration Focus: An Introduction to Alpaca Worsted, Semi-Worsted and Woolen Yarns.” September 2013
  • “Why Your Next Sweater Should be Alpaca, Not Cashmere” by Jenni Avins. Re-printed with permission from Quartz. September 2014
  • Illustration: “Softness Sensation on a Microscopic Level” by Jared Johnston. June 2015
  • “Bringing the First Commercial De-Hairer to the United States” by Meyla Bianco Johnston. June 2015
  • “The Importance of Classing and Sorting in Alpaca Fiber” by Cameron Holt. March 2016

Discover which Alpaca Culture topics interest you the most. Subscribe today!

Helga Fensterman

DeSoto Bend Alpacas and Fiber Services
Fort Calhoun, Nebraska

What is your role in the alpaca community?
Certified Sorter for alpaca and sheep’s wool fleece. Sorting involves going through a shorn fleece and separating out different areas by grade of fineness, and also differentiating on length and color. I also teach spinning classes and help out with some of the activities at another farm near here, Alpacas of the Heartland. In addition, I work full time at a medical center and hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m not clinical – I do computer stuff. But it’s a good place, and I enjoy it. Sorting is mostly done in the evenings and weekends from spring through summer. Even after ‘skirting’ a fleece, there are usually two or three different fineness grades as the fiber transitions from mid-spine, to side to hip to shoulder. Neck fleece can be sorted, as well. The goal is to obtain consistent Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 fiber. In this system, Grade 1 is < 20 microns; Grade 2 is 20-23 microns, and so on up through Grade 6 at over 32 microns. Length is important, as fiber can be processed in a ‘woolen’ method or ‘worsted’ method. I also provide an evaluation of the fleece – and note characteristics such as strength, cleanliness, brightness/luster, consistency, and any other notable factors.
The Certified Sorter designation comes from taking several classes and reviewing a couple of hundred fleeces with a mentor, and taking tests. About 10 years ago, Carrie Hull and Robin Kuhl started the Certified Sorter training classes. It has now transitioned to a “real” class certified by Cobleskill/SUNY. I started around 2012.

What makes your farm or business unique?
My focus is on the fiber, fleece and teaching people about the unique and valuable properties for every fleece. Not just the super fine ones!

What do you enjoy most about Alpaca Culture?
International, broad and inclusive perspective. More attention is paid to fleece/fiber and production of end products.

Discover which Alpaca Culture topics interest you the most. Subscribe today!

Christiane Frenkel Gross

Saar Alpaka
Saarland, Germany

Why do you read Alpaca Culture?
For me and my husband, Alpaca Culture is the most informative and most professional magazine on the alpaca industry we know. It has a big variety of topics with a clear focus on how the alpaca industry can be strengthened. You show us the different ways that farms in the US take to make their business work - that is very inspiring for us as we keep on working to make our Saar Alpaka Farm a successful business and we get a lot of new ideas while reading Alpaca Culture.

Also, we find lot of information about fibre processing and the possibilities what to do with the fibre: designer portraits, fibre mills, cottage industry possibilities. And I like your international approach with topics like the Asian market, projects in Peru and many more because I think the alpaca industry is only working on the open, international basis. And last but not least - great photos to your stories1

What articles have you enjoyed in the past?
I love the article in the June 2017 issue about “Alpaca Partners” because I really believe that alpacas are so special in their nature/character and that they are so good for the souls of human beings. And I always enjoy the articles about how to process the fibre in a new and modern way - new designers all over the world for example.

What is your favorite type of article?
I definitely love the portraits of the different farms and how they work with their alpacas. No matter if their focus is on fibre producing, selling animals or working with the animals - always so inspiring!!! And I like the mix of information and personal stories behind the farm business.

Discover which Alpaca Culture topics interest you the most. Subscribe today!

Anne Adriance

Nuñoa Project
Amherst, Massachusetts, United States

Why do you read Alpaca Culture?
I like to follow all industry developments and what owners and breeders are doing on their farms.

What articles have you enjoyed in the past?
I like to see articles about what is going on in my South America and am grateful when you include articles about the Nunoa Project. I am also interested in what alpaca farming practices are in used in other parts of the world.

What is your favorite type of article?
The photography is fantastic and the layout and presentation of articles and photos is compelling. The magazine is very polished and a great pleasure to read and enjoy.

Discover which Alpaca Culture topics interest you the most. Subscribe today!