This year Alpaca della Foglia celebrate ten years with their alpacas. Their anniversary is one of the important ones that define a path and mark an important step. A decade has passed since that night, January 27th 2009, when the first five alpacas came to them, but nothing has been easy. Noemi Gambini writes.
All my efforts to undertake this activity at the age of 21 were alone, with the economic help of my parents who helped me buy the first females, build a small stable and a manger. None of us had any experience as a breeder.
As soon as I finished high school in 2007, specialising in illustration and movie animation, I found myself faced with a very difficult reality: the profession of children’s book illustrator is underpaid in Italy. The publishing market does not pay illustrators and designers enough to live on. It was not possible to do the work I had studied for – no one had warned me or prepared me for this harsh reality.
Having grown up in the countryside with my grandmother, who told me often that she was the child that took care of her family’s sheep, from which she obtained the precious wool that then she spun in the evening, lit by the light of a candle, I have always been fascinated by these stories and the relationship between animals and humans.
My grandmother carried the sheep to the river to wash them before shearing, then put them on dry and clean straw in the stable. Once dry they were shorn with scissors, the wool was washed with a soap made from filtered ash, dried in the sun hanging on the bushes, then carded with brushes and spun by hand, using saliva for the twisting process of the yarn.
So I thought, “Why not take advantage of the family land to create a small breeding of fibre animals as did my grandmother as a child?”