HCC fiber students awarded at National Alpaca Competition
Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Fiber students Amy Tromiczak and Lia Ehrlich won first and fourth place, respectively, in the textile category at the Annual North American Student Design Competition of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association recently. This marks the fifth straight year HCC students have won at the competition.
According to HCC Professional Crafts Fiber instructor Amy Putansu, the school’s first-year fiber students enter the competition because it is a perfect fit for what they are studying. Students learn a new fiber in depth and it complements the program’s emphasis of not only perfecting the craft, but also learning the business aspects required to be successful.
According to the National Alpaca website, the student design competition is created to expose college-level art, fashion and textile design students and professors to the wonders of designing with alpaca fiber. In return, the next generation of designers will be entering the workforce with a positive awareness of this amazing luxury fiber that can be utilized throughout their professional lives.
Tromiczak came to Western North Carolina specifically to attend HCC’s Professional Crafts Fiber program. She brought with her the skills gained from working on an organic farm in Ireland, attending classes at Penland, and living near a strong craft community in Arizona.
Tromiczak says HCC is exactly what she was looking for.
"I feel like this college is taking me on a career path," said Tromiczak. "It is technical but it directly applies to business. It is like finding a gem. It has the skills I have wanted to learn for so long."
The Minnesota native would like to build a community with other creative people, perhaps her father and brother. At HCC, Tromiczak is treasurer of Haywood Studios, a student craft club organization for students in the Professional Crafts programs.
"The program at HCC allows you to completely immerse yourself into learning all aspects of the craft," said Tromiczak. "I want the two years to last forever. It is an amazing experience."
Like Tromiczak, Ehrlich attended Penland where she learned about the program at HCC. Prior to that, she graduated from the School of the Arts High School in Raleigh. When she finishes HCC, she is considering continuing her education to get a Bachelor’s degree.
Ehrlich says she enjoys making things that have functionality but are also visually appealing. She also enjoys incorporating natural fibers and dyes into her work.
"The program at HCC is really in depth," said Ehrlich. "You learn a lot of techniques but you are always encouraged to be artistic."
For more information about alpaca fashion, visit www.alpacafashion.com. For more information about HCC’s Professional Crafts Fiber program, call 627-4672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.