Technique: Alpaca Plush
THE TECHNIQUE : ALPACA PLUSH
Inspired Peru, an artisan cooperative working with 35 artisans, recognizes that women are the primary beacons of cultural transmissions. The artisans at Inspired Peru practice a traditional technique while making stuffed animals by hand. Alpaca plush is a technique involving the hand-gluing, hand-dying, and brushing of alpaca hair.
On average, six to eight artisans collaborate on the production of these stuffed animals. It takes about five days to craft each of these adorable, hypoallergenic stuffed animals. The process begins with artisans shaping molds and carefully sewing the body. Each animal’s face is separately constructed, giving each piece a very realistic flair. After carefully shaving the alpaca, the hair is washed and sun-dried for one to two days. Depending on the item, the artisans may dye the alpaca hair using vibrant colors. Dying involves additional hand-wash cycles to reach the desired color. Molds are separately made using flexible cardboard. Artisans carefully hand-glue the washed alpaca hair to the mold. Once dried, the hair is thoroughly hand-combed to reach its staple softness. No animal cruelty is involved in the sourcing of the alpaca hair.
Alpaca plush has been living in the communities for generations, but it’s been revitalized over the past seven years. We are proud to partner with artisans at Inspired Peru as they work hard to preserve this beautiful and unique cultural technique.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTISANS
Inspired Peru is an artisan cooperative consisting of 35 artisans; the majority are widows and heads of household from indigenous communities in the Peruvian highlands. Ethically sourced, local alpaca wool is used to craft products, such as stuffed animals and accessories, that celebrate the artisans’ ancestral and cultural heritage. The artisans generally work from the comfort of their home; however, they have access to a communal workshop in the city of Lima. At Inspired Peru, artisans are empowered to transmit their traditional skills to future generations while expanding their business and leadership skills. Artisans have access to skill development programs through Inspired Peru. We are proud to partner with artisans at Inspired Peru.