After years of working in textiles and their own clothing design business, David Chapman and Lynne Milsom emigrated to Canada to satisfy a yearning for a more natural lifestyle. That yearning took them along a path they could never have contemplated in their wildest dreams – working with fibre from their own herd of llamas.
“Our clothing designs were traditional and simple, made almost exclusively from cotton. What a joy it is to step further back in the process of clothing design and produce our own textiles.” said Lynne.
Following their emigration from England and 7 years of self-
TomBurke – The Figurehead of The Llama Sanctuary
Lynne and David were shocked to encounter so many llamas that were abandoned; simply left in fields and yards. In most cases, the animals survive through the kindness and generosity of neighbours who take food and water to the sorry creatures, while they desperately seek someone to help. On several occasions, it has been a realtor who finds the llama, while visiting the property following house repossession. The realtor then takes on the responsibility of putting out some hay and water and left wondering what to do next. On two occasions, the llamas have been left to roam in the forests and mountains and to fend for themselves …that’s only until the government Fish & Wildlife Agents learn of their existence and shoot them. “These animals need special care since they are not living in their natural environment,” exclaimed Lynne. “Something as simple as their toenails not being cut can cripple them.”
The Llama Sanctuary is dedicated to providing love and care for neglected, abused, abandoned and otherwise homeless llamas and alpacas in British Columbia. For a variety of reasons, there are a great many animals in need of such care and The Llama Sanctuary is dedicated to providing that care and developing awareness of the needs of unwanted and homeless camelids.
Raising Money and Awareness
Rescuing and caring for a large number of animals requires a lot of money. Sometimes, when the animals arrive, they are in poor health and need lots of special care and attention. David and Lynne have used their personal income to support the Sanctuary, but as the financial demands have increased, a dedicated source of finance has been sought.
“The Llama Sanctuary offers boarding facilities for llamas and alpacas, which provides valuable donations for the rescue centre, but more donations are essential to keep the Sanctuary running, so that we are never in the position where we cannot afford to provide a home for an abandoned llama.” said David Chapman, who is Managing Director of the The Llama Sanctuary. “It would be very nice if such a facility was not necessary, but when an owner dies, sometimes animals are simply left homeless. That is a problem that isn’t going to go away.” Your donations are appreciated enormously!
Fundraising is promoted through the Sanctuary’s fibre arts division: Fibre Arts Bootcamp. Through The Llama Sanctuary;s sister website www.FABinBC.com funds are raised through offering goods and services in exchange for donations. The website offers regular fibre arts workshops, covering many aspects of the fibre arts: spinning, knitting, crochet, fibre dyeing, felting and fibre processing to name a few. Volunteers at The Sanctuary also make a range of fibre arts tools called ‘Mega Hooks.’ As the name suggests, these dual purpose knitting needles and crochet hooks are bigger than the average! Starting at size 17 (half inch diam.), they go all the way up to one and a half inch diameter and four feet long! These Mega Hooks are shipped to fibre artists all over the world for making REALLY chunky rugs and blankets.
Lynne has been asked to speak and demonstrate at a variety of events throughout British Columbia and likes to throw convention out of the window, when it comes to working with fiber. Her own intuitive style is ever-present at the creative spinning and mega knitting workshops.
Lynne and David love working together with the llamas and are co-Directors at The Llama Sanctuary, which is a Humanitarian Foundation currently occupying 20 acres of farmland near Enderby in British Columbia.
Please Note – The Llama Sanctuary is not currently open to the public.
Larger premises are being sought in order to open to doors to visitors and to provide a residential fibre arts programme.