Art & Alpacas: Fiber art, pottery, jewelry and some of the cutest animals you'll ever see, Sept. 28-29 in Campton Hills

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Come out to meet the Suri alpacas of Waldron Grove, and peruse originally designed alpaca clothing and accessories, pottery and jewelry at an art and alpaca show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29 at 39W856 McDonald Road, Campton Hills.

Alpacas, which are cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile. These animals are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming. Adult alpacas generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors.

Alpacas first were imported into the U.S. in 1984. Since then, the alpaca industry has grown steadily, according to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association. More than 120,000 alpacas are registered with the Alpaca Registry.

There are two types of alpacas in the U.S. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types is their fiber. The Huacaya is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. The Suri is the rarer of the two, and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil locks.

Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months, producing 5 to 10 pounds of fiber, according to Waldron Grove.

Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca is as warm as wool, yet is a third the weight of wool with the same warmth, the release stated.

It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.

At one time, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty, but today it is purchased in its raw fleece form by a fiber cooperative. Hand-spinners, fiber artists and knitters buy it as yarn.

Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth.

For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.

More information is available by emailing or text to 630-222-5100.