THE WAEVING OF THE PANAMA HAT
The weaving of the Panama Hat is entirely manual. It starts with the characteristic initial button on the top of the hat, called “plantilla”, using only a few pieces of straw and subsequently adding more until reaching a size of 2 to 4 inches in diameter (5 to 10cm). The next step is to weave the top part of the hat, called “copa”, using a rounded wooden block to guide the weave process until it reaches the lowest part of the hat, called “falda” – or skirt in English. The next process is called “remate” – finishing-off. It uses a special interweave, that leaves long strands of straw poke out at the edges of the hat.
The weaving is made by artisans on the countryside, the usual place of work being their homes. This activity is introduced in the everyday life of the artisans, and is incorporated into the life of its creators. It is not only a means to earn an income, in most cases it is a long family heritage, popular tradition, part of them and their lives.