I never would have believed I'd end up alpaca farming in Canada

The Irish Times
By: The Irish Times
Photo: Courtesy of The Irish Times

Photo Caption: Art director and alpaca farmer Mark Smullen in Ontario, Canada.

Original content from The Irish Times.
Mark Smullen is a graphic designer and illustrator living in Canada. He works as an art director in Ontario, and he and his wife Darlene also farm alpacas.

How did you get into graphic design, and what does your job involve?

I always knew I wanted to do something arty. As a kid I drew a lot and had a healthy imagination. It’s not easy to earn a decent living as an artist, so graphic design seemed like a better option. I work at Alchemy Systems in Guelph, Ontario. We create custom employee communications for Canadian, American, and global companies. Most of these are about safety awareness. We help companies keep their people safe.

Tell us about the alpaca farming?

If I had told my 25-year-old self that I would be an alpaca farmer in Canada, I wouldn’t have believed it. Alpacas are South American camelids, they are related to llamas and camels. My wife Darlene became interested in them back in 2004, she visited some breeders, and before you know it, I’m an alpaca farmer. In 2005 we moved out of the city (Kitchener, Ontario) and close to the towns of Listowel and Palmerston.

Once a year the alpacas are sheared and their fibre is processed into yarn, which is then turned into hats, gloves, scarves, and other things by Darlene’s small army of knitters and crocheters. We sell the yarn and products at a stall in St Jacobs Farmers’ Market just outside of Waterloo, Ontario.

Read the rest of this story at The Irish Times.