Folkmanis Puppets: Alpaca

folkmanis alpacaI have another puppet from Folkmanis — the Alpaca. It strikes me as rather odd to make an alpaca puppet, but this one is not without its charm.

First off, it’s a very woolly little critter, and fairly large — the body itself is about 14 inches long, and it stands around 16 inches high — except, of course, that it doesn’t stand without help. (That would be you, as puppetmaster.)

The opportunities for actually manipulating the puppet are limited: because of the length of an alpaca’s neck, the opening for the hand goes right up into the head, which is rather a tight fit unless you have hands rather smaller than mine. The puppeteer can thus manipulate only the mouth, although there is quite a range of motion in that.

The body is covered in a shaggy, woolly fabric that gives the impression of a rather wild character, in keeping with its somewhat bad-tempered expression. (Remember, llamas and alpacas are related to camels, and seem to share the disposition.) The face is covered in a short plush, and ears, feet, and the inside of the mouth in a fine, short velour.

As usual, the label for the beast has a set of fun facts — bred for their wool, alpacas also can carry heavy loads and are good to eat — and a story of Sara and her guard-alpaca.

And now you get to make up your own stories about alpacas.


Robert M. Tilendis lives a deceptively quiet life. He has made money as a dishwasher, errand boy, legal librarian, arts administrator, shipping expert, free-lance writer and editor, and probably a few other things he’s tried very hard to forget about. He has also been a student of history, art, theater, psychology, ceramics, and dance. Through it all, he has been an artist and poet, just to provide a little stability in his life. Along about January of every year, he wonders why he still lives someplace as mundane as Chicago; it must be that he likes it there. You may e-mail him, but include a reference to Green Man Review so you don’t get deleted with the spam.

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