How many hats could travel 5775 miles and arrive looking this perky?
Not many I'll guess.
But then then they can't all Allpa hats from Equador!!!!
Away back at the start of the year, we got a lovely lovely email from Adriana Ortiz from Allpa Handwoven Toquilla Crafts saying that they would like to make and send us both a handmade hat all the way from Equador.
The snow was still thick on the ground when they arrived. The box they came in was as charming as the hats inside. With all those colourful stamps, I couldn't bring myself to throw it away!
It has taken all these months before we have actually had enough sunshine to take some decent shots and truly pop one on my head (although a Scottish summer still means wearing a scarf and a cardigan!)
Allpa (quechua).- Fertile soil, land.
Allpa was founded in Ecuador in 2010, to design and produce panama hats and toquilla straw bags. Everything is handmade from beginning to end, preserving an ancient technique is part of thier cultural identity.
The raw material used in the fabrication of the hats, carludovica palmata, commonly known as toquilla straw, is a plant native to Ecuador. It is grown in the Coast and Amazon regions, in the provinces of Manabí, Guayas, Esmeraldas and Morona Santiago. Its fan-shaped leaves can reach up to 3 meters long. The outer side of the leaves is green, and the part used to make the hats, the center, is ivory.
The fiber is obtained during the morning hours, to assure that the tropical sun does not reduce its flexibility. The stems are cut, divided, cleaned and boiled, and later wind dried. Once ready, the best fibers are selected and thin threads are pulled out of them.
The weaving of the hat, which has three parts (template, top and lap) can last from a week up to many months, depending in the thickness of the straw. It is later washed and bleached. Further on, the cup is placed in a hat block to give its shape, and finally it is ironed and brushed.
The entire process is completely made by hand at the homes of the artisans, their usual place of work. This activity forms an integral part of their lives, and its technique has been passed on from generation to generation, from colonial times to the present, remaining intact and thus becoming a tradition.
They also do they most amazing tote bags.
I can't say how much love love love the Amour one!