MINGLING with alpacas and meeting Welsh designers is the treat in store for visitors to Sian O’Doherty’s studio this weekend.

Award-winning textile designer Sian is hosting a summer Open Studio event which will showcase her skills in creating knitwear, accessories and home décor items alongside welcoming 15 renowned artists.

The fields adjoining Sian’s home and studio at Ash Farm, near Stepaside, is also home to her growing herd of over 20 alpacas, including several new arrivals.

The fleeces from the animals are used in an increasing range of Sian’s products and she also has a range of alpaca four-ply and lace-weight yarn for sale.

“My philosophy is to prove that style and sustainability are not mutually exclusive,” said Sian, whose accolades include Best Maker in Wales from the 135 exhibitors at the 2018 Made By Hand event in Cardiff.

“By breeding my own alpacas, I’m able to ensure that the animals are cared for to the highest standards.

“Alpacas come in a range of natural colours, requiring less dyeing, which in turns results in less risk of damage to the environment.

“They are also fascinating creatures to observe, and their calm nature spread to those in their company.”

Visitors to the Open Studio will be able to not only see the alpacas, but to mingle with the herd at set times during the two days.

The work available from guest exhibitors ranges from woodwork, ceramics, photography, jewellery, clothing, stained glass, print, machine stitch, willow weaving, and fine art pieces. This event is sure to delight art and craft lovers of all ages and provides a rare opportunity to meet with the designers and learn about their individual craft and the work that goes into each piece of work.

Also during the weekend a range of delicious homemade foods will be available to purchase from Paternoster Farm and Absolute Event Bars will have a number of refreshing drinks to enjoy that will no doubt add to the summer festivities!

The event takes place tomorrow (Saturday) between 11am and 6pm and Sunday between 11am and 5pm