Weaving Miracles

Weaving Miracles

7. Weaving the World’s Finest Panama Hats ®

I have been photographing weavers for more than 35 years. These are some of my favorites.

First, a fond remembrance of José Espinal, Master Weaver.

tour_07_01_JESP1.jpg tour_07_02_JESP2.jpg
tour_07_03_JESP3.jpg tour_07_04_JESP4.jpg
tour_07_05_jewV1ajpg.jpg tour_07_06_JE2V.jpg
tour_07_07_JESP6.jpg tour_07_08_JESP7.jpg

I photographed José many times. He was a great weaver, nice man, good husband. In the photo above left, the one right above that, and the top left photo on this page, take a look at the tree-limb tripod he uses for weaving. I bought it from him and shipped it to Hawaii. I use it every day when I block hats. I rest the block on José’s stand while I work with a hat. I like to think that working on his stand somehow keeps me connected to José, connected to the village where the world’s finest hats are woven. It definitely keeps me conscious of them. Vaya con dios, José.

tour_07_10_WE5.jpg tour_07_11_WE6.jpg
tour_07_12_unkV5.jpg tour_07_13_unkcomV1.jpg
tour_07_14_WE8.jpg tour_07_15_WE9.jpg

Remember at the end of the previous page there was a photo of the plantilla about the size of a silver dollar? In the two photos above, you can see a much larger plantilla in the right foreground. When the plantilla is as large around as the top of the wooden form, the weaver turns the weave down and begins la copa, or crown.

If you look back at the top left photo on the page, you will see a small plantilla hanging from between the round forms. In the top right photo on this page, José is weaving the small plantilla bigger.

In the close shot of the plantilla on the right (a beauty by Marcial Espinal), you can see how he marks his place when taking a break from weaving by tying the straw.

tour_07_17_WE1.jpg tour_07_18_WE3.jpg
tour_07_19_WE7.jpg tour_07_20_proudV3.jpg

Above left and below left, the classic weaver posture. Bent at the waist, chest resting on a cushion, sometimes just a folded t-shirt. When the crown is tall enough to reach the bottom of the form, it’s time to weave the brim. The hat is held in place on the form by a half-inch-wide leather belt , pulled tight by laces, then tied. (all four photos above and below) While working on the plantilla and crown, the hat is held in place by the weaver’s weight and the wood form placed on top of the plantilla. (Photo at top of page on right)

tour_07_21_proudV2.jpg tour_07_22_rosahandsV1.jpg
tour_07_23_MdhH.jpg tour_07_24_lawkidH1.jpg
tour_07_25_MO3H.jpg tour_07_26_lawlnkids.jpg

Below, Simón’s father, Senovio, weaves the brim.

tour_07_27_IE5H.jpg tour_07_28_IE2H.jpg
tour_07_29_IE9H.jpg tour_07_30_HANDSB_H1.jpg

Next, see how the brim’s edge is woven. NEXT PAGE

8. Getting the Edge go to

The Panama Hat Company of the Pacific dba Brent Black Panama Hats 1314 Center Dr., Suite B-448 Medford, OR 97501 There is no retail store at this address. (more) Toll Free: (888) 658-6500 Phone: (541) 201-3113

Text and photos © 1988-2022, B. Brent Black. All rights reserved.

100% Secure Shopping

We accept PayPal We accept Visa We accept MasterCard We accept AMEX We accept Discover We accept Diners Club We accept JCB
Click for the BBB Business Review of this Hats - Wholesale & Manufacturers in Kailua HI


111 Hekili Street, Suite A-293; Kailua, HI 96734 Ph: (888) 658-6500 Fax: (808) 262-7725 www.BrentBlack.com