Alpaca RugCourtesy Company
Made from the Heart
Heartfelt Rugs, a Columbia-based business, creates unique rugs from a truly unusual source: alpaca fibers. The company began when a coalition of four mid-Missouri women, three of whom were alpaca farmers, acquired a felt loom in 2010 and started making rugs and decorative wall art from alpaca fiber.
Many of the rug patterns are inspired by Native American designs as well as quilting patterns and custom designs. All four women take part in the creation of the rugs, which includes fiber sorting, dyeing, and felting the rugs.
Alpacas are domesticated animals in the same family as camels; they come from South America where they were bred for their fiber, which is hypoallergenic and softer, stronger, and warmer than wool. The women learned about felting alpaca rugs from a farmer in Kentucky who invented a special felt loom for alpaca fibers.
Heartfelt alpaca farmer Mary Licklider says alpacas are low-maintenance, easy on the land, and relatively peaceful creatures: “It’s good therapy to come home to them.” The rugs can be found at Good Nature in downtown Columbia.