In Sandona Nariño, everything revolves around Iraca. This formidable fiber represents the main source of income for most of the people living in this picturesque town which has become one of the most important artisan and cultural centers in Colombia.
As with most crafts, it is mostly the women who do the weaving, they are taught the trade mostly by their mothers and grandmothers as early as 5 years old.
While the tradition of weaving in this region, which is located next to the Colombian border with Ecuador, began by making the traditional Ecuadorian hats, it has now expanded into all sorts of household and fashion items such as place mats, egg and bread baskets, laundry hampers, bracelets, earrings, fashion hats, hair accessories, as well as these beautiful and quite detailed colorful hanging mobiles. A small coat of protector is applied to the finished mobile so that it can be hung outside.
Each Saturday at the market, the bundles of dried Iraca are displayed for the weavers to buy. The fibers are then transformed into colorful items of the highest quality using all sorts of different weaving techniques and patterns.