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Craft Techniques

Jipi Japa Palm

Jipijapa is a specific type of palm plant that grows throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Known for its fine and supple leaves, jipijapa is an ideal material to weave hats, baskets and other products. First the leaves are cut from the palm tree and left to dry in the sun. Then the leaves are separated into delicate strips using a fine needle instrument. Depending upon the width of the strip of palm fiber, the quality of the piece varies; the finer the strip, the better quality the weave. A hat woven with a single part weave takes one day to complete whereas a hat made from a four-part weave takes up to three weeks to finish as the strips are much finer.

Jipijapa is an ideal material to weave hats, baskets and other products.

The jipijapa fiber is worked in caves under the houses of the artisans where the humidity keeps the palm flexible and facilitates weaving. The artisans choose the fibers and match them according to their thickness. The quantity of threads defines the quality of the hat. The fabric gradually acquires a cup body until it reaches the desired size. The finished hats go through pressing machines where they adopt contemporary shapes with lasts of different models.