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Alpaca Sculptures

Judy Boyt

Judy Boyt is a sculptor, artist and designer with a passion for the natural world. This year she exhibited at the British Alpaca Futurity for the first time.
My first experience at the British Alpaca Futurity Show, 2011.
By Judy Boyt MA FRBS SEA
?Do you have alpacas?? asked Penny and me.
?Well? came the reply ?It all started with three alpacas as our lawn mowers ? we used to have horses ? now we have twenty or more alpacas, do?nt know how that happened !? This was an often repeated answer to our question!
This was my introduction to the world of alpacas and their doting owners at the British Alpaca Futurity Show 2011, held at Stoneleigh Park. And what fun! Two days of meeting people and their alpacas of all shapes and sizes. I learnt so much in those two days about the characters, the types and the finery of this intriguing and beguiling animal, not only from the animal itself but also from so many helpful and interesting people.
I am a sculptor, more known for sculpting horses, such as the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials Trophy, who was first introduced to the alpaca while visiting the Snowshill Stud in Gloucestershire. I spent several days sitting in the fields with these curious and yet alluring animals, observing them, whilst they observed me drawing all the different hairstyles and faces. I even managed to make a quick sculpture (head and neck sketch study, see picture) of a newly sheared female who was very interested in what I was doing ? she even tried to rearrange the clay with her mouth while my back was turned. It did not help the sculpture one bit.
Penny and her mother Mary Mount suggested that I go to the Futurity Show and exhibit some of my work. So, arriving with everything from my studio and more, we decamped into a rather cold spacious hall, already filled with talkative, mewing alpacas. Penny and I duly put my work up in our stand and tried to organise our plans for the next two days. I was to demonstrate my skills, sculpting an alpaca in front of a critical and knowledgeable audience. Scary, what had I let myself in for.
The next day I started to work on a sculpture of an alpaca head in clay ? this went well and I decided to add another head study but a different type and hairstyle. This went even better and created a lot of interest from the public. By the afternoon, encouraged by the regular visitors to the stand, I felt that a third head study of yet another type of alpaca should be added. So at the end of the day I had my ?starter pack? of three alpacas! (To date this sculpture still has to be finished)
On the second day my challenge was to make a whole alpaca sculpture. Well this a first but what an opportunity, surrounded by real live top notch models I had to go for it ? so, starting with the wire armature, bending it into a skeleton form secured to a wooden base, I added clay ? a shape emerged and developed into a suri. He was rather long legged at first and short on the coat, but over the next few hours the character and beauty of the animal grew, as did the length of his fleece. The wind is gently blowing the long fleece, as he looks elegantly and loftily into the distance. With a few more hours and tweaks back at the studio, this sculpture will be ready for casting into bronze.
I can now say that I started with three alpacas , the heads, and now my herd has grown to four with more to come. But the advantage of a sculpture is that they will be with us forever and do not have to be fed or sheared.
Throughout the event I met many interesting people and had lots of enquiries regarding possible commissions. I do like working on bespoke commissions and being able to take the time to get to know the animal in real life, drawing in my sketchbook, (I rarely work from photographs) and sculpting directly into clay or wax.
To have your favourite alpaca?s head sculpted (similar to picture) and cast in resin starts at 2,400 including VAT. Or purchase a piece from the new ?Sculpture on the Wall? range, a series of relief panels to hang on the wall. I also sell some of my original pencil drawings and giclee prints starting from 85.
Enquiries to :
The Studio West Wood, Easterton Sands, DEVIZES, Wiltshire SN10 4PY
Off: 01380 818719 Mob: 07860 242836