A selection of Wade Gease’s designs and semi-precious stones will be on display and available for purchase at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

A selection of Wade Gease’s designs and semi-precious stones will be on display and available for purchase at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Artworks Gallery to host alpaca expert

Alpacas are an interesting animal. Native to the Andes in Peru, alpacas were never bred to be beasts of burden, like their doppelganger, the llama.

Instead, they were bred for their unique fibers, which alpaca expert Wade Gease has dedicated his life to and will discuss in a series of educational presentations Friday and Saturday at the Artworks Alaska Gallery in Kenai.

“People put it in their mind as some exotic animal and don’t really know exactly what it is,” Gease said. “But alpaca, in my mind, is the best natural fiber in the world.”

According to Gease, alpaca fur is soft, durable and highly insulated, making a great material to use for cold weather gear.

Over the course of the weekend, Gease will share his experience with alpacas and his alpaca products, branded under the moniker The Alpaca Guy. Items designed by Gease include cozy socks, hand-loomed artisan scarves, blankets and shawls.

“A good alpaca product is any alpaca product, really,” Gease said. “Alpaca, in general, has superior insulative qualities because these poor creatures evolved to stay warm, Mother Nature gave these animals a little different fiber. It’s really soft because it’s generally quite fine but compared to other fine fibers, alpaca has segmented air pockets in it.”

Alpaca fur, unlike other fibers, helps assist in the evaporation of sweat, instead of just wicking it from the skin, Gease said.

“Alpaca fiber is akin to natural body armor,” Gease said. “This fiber knows when the body needs heat and when to let it escape. … People in cold climates especially appreciate alpaca’s toasty warm properties.”

Gease will be at Artworks Alaska Gallery from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and from 9 a..m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, sharing his knowledge of alpacas, which he has honed over two decades of experience.

“I co-owned and ran one of the first alpaca ranches in the Midwest for 20 years,” Gease said.

What started as a couple of alpacas grew and grew into an agrotourism business and Gease started looking for other ways to utilize the alpacas.

“Having the animals and shearing every year forced me to find ways to get the fiber into products,” Gease said. “That led me down the production line to today, where I design and produce products that I sell wholesale throughout the nation to help support alpaca ranches with alpaca products.”

Gease will be joined by guest artist Nicolisi, who will be presenting a unique line of semiprecious stones, as well as educational discussions on their energies.

The educational talks will happen at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day at Artworks Gallery, located at 4289 Beaver Loop Road in Kenai.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com

Wade Gease, also known as The Alpaca Guy, will be hosting a series of educational discussions about alpacas at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. The talks will start at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. (Submitted photo)

Wade Gease, also known as The Alpaca Guy, will be hosting a series of educational discussions about alpacas at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. The talks will start at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. (Submitted photo)

Wade Gease, also known as The Alpaca Guy, will be hosting a series of educational discussions about alpacas at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. The talks will start at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. (Submitted photo)

Wade Gease, also known as The Alpaca Guy, will be hosting a series of educational discussions about alpacas at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. The talks will start at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. (Submitted photo)

A selection of Wade Gease’s designs and semi-precious stones will be on display and available for purchase at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

A selection of Wade Gease’s designs and semi-precious stones will be on display and available for purchase at Artswork Gallery in Kenai on Sept. 1 and 2. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: ‘Tis the Season

The Kenai Community Library has always been one of the stars in the crown of the community.

Homer News Ben Mitchell, left, serves spaghetti to helper Pat Wells in the kitchen at a past Share the Spirit spaghetti feed. (Michael Armstrong/Homer News file)
Looking to share some holiday spirit? Here’s how

Share the Spirit serves the Homer community by donating food, essential needs and Christmas presents.

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

File
Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.

Make pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes for a decadent fall treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: In honor of ‘Cupcake Mondays’

Pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes brighten up the dreariest of work.

Nick Varney
Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Back off, Zeus

If this wet-n-warm, freeze, then start again, continues much longer, Kachemak Drive will need a complete redo.

The cover of Tom Kizzia’s book, “Cold Mountain Path,” published by Porphyry Press in October 2021. (Photo provided)
‘Cold Mountain Path’ explores ghost town history of McCarthy

Kizzia’s book looks at McCarthy history from 1938 to the town’s revival as a tourist destination.

Melinda Hershberger works on her installation for the Kenai Art Center’s collaborative mural project on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Wall-to-wall creativity

Artists collaborate on a single mural at the Kenai Art Center this month.