Artisans Sandoná Nariño


Iraca palm, also known as straw toquila, or palm tree, is a native plant of the American continent that is cultivated in temperate zones. This plant material is the principal component of straw hats which originally came from western Ecuador in the mid-nineteenth century. They were subsequently introduced to the municipality of La Unión, northeast of the department of Nariño, Colombia and became an artisan activity in the region. Since that time, the town of Sandona became the largest producer of the iraca Palm in Colombia.   


Prior to weaving by these incredible artisans, the iraca palm straw is shredded, deveined, cooked, drained, toasted, bleached, and baked. In the manufacture of the fabric, the quality varies with the choice of material and the technique used that influence the shape and texture. Hats that are knitted with the simplest design, can take between two and three days to weave.  Those with exceptional “super fine” quality can take up to a month to make and require exceptional artisanal technique – something the Sandona artisans possess.  

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