Q & A with Mr. Putnam
Q: How long have you taught at Southwest?
A: Since it opened, so seven years.
Q: Have you always been an art teacher?
A: As long as I’ve been teaching I’ve been an art teacher, but I didn’t start teaching until 1990.
Q: Growing up did you always want to be an art teacher?
A: My goal was to be an artist, not an art teacher.
Q: What makes art special to you?
A: I like the problem-solving challenge that comes with art, as well as just being able to create. I like to work with the hands, make stuff.
Q: I’ve heard you raise alpacas, is this true?
A: We have alpacas, we don’t breed. We just kind of fell into them; they happened accidentally. We do breed sheep though.
Q: What drove your decision to farm alpacas?
A: We moved out to be a sheep operation, and my wife ran across a deal on some guard dogs. But, we didn’t have the sheep yet, so in order for the dogs to have something to do, we purchased three of the alpacas the dogs had been guarding. They’re low end, so we brought those home. You can’t have a bored guard dog; that’s not a good thing. Then a month or two later, the people that we’d got the alpacas and the dogs from called and said ‘we’d like to give you the rest of our heard.’ They were getting out of the business, so, not knowing anything, we said sure. They shipped out 21 additional alpacas, and about the time they arrived, the sheep were starting to come in. It was fun, purely accidental and ill informed.
Q: On your farm do you solely have alpacas or do you have other animals as well?
We have chickens.
Q: Do you have alpacas as pets or do you use them for their resources as well?
A: We use them for the fiber. We shear and then sell the fiber, and my wife is a fiber artist so she’ll work with it sometimes.