Alpaca visit inspires costume concepts

Alpaca visit inspires costume concepts

Alison Finn, a secondary English education major, takes a selfie with Mahogany the alpaca. Finn is designing a costume to dress a human like a alpaca.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Alison Finn, a secondary English education major, takes a selfie with Mahogany the alpaca. Finn is designing a costume to dress a human like an alpaca.

Costume design students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln got nose-to-nose with some silky inspiration on Nov. 15.

To help further a class project on designing an animal-inspired costume, Mahogany the alpaca hung out with the students on the green space south of the Temple Building.

Mahogany the alpaca
Mahogany the alpaca
The chocolate-brown alpaca's visit was orchestrated through Rebecca Armstrong, a graduate student pursing a Master of Fine Arts who also raises llamas and alpacas on an acreage northeast of Lincoln.

Students in the class, which is led by Jamie Bullins, assistant professor of theater and film, were allowed to observe, touch and interact with Mahogany. The alpaca was a natural, even taking time to pose for selfies with a few of the excited students.

The alpaca, which is a smaller cousin to the llama, was one of the choices Bullins offered in the costume assignment. Other creatures included hippos, penguins and kiwis.

Alpaca Visits Costume Design Class
360 video: Mahogany the alpaca visits Nebraska

Alison Finn, a secondary English education major from Norfolk, chose the alpaca as her inspiration. Her design concept to transform a person into an alpaca included skinny khaki pants to emulate the animal's long legs, a chunky sweater to suggest a fluffy coat, and a messy bun to mimic the animal's topknot.

“This is the first time I’ve had an animal come to class,” Bullins said, as his students fussed over the animal in the green space near the "Torn Notebook" sculpture. “But an alpaca was the only option. We couldn’t bring in a hippopotamus.”

Mahogany the alpaca munches some roughage near "Torn Notebook" as costume design students observe the animal for a class project.