Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The different kinds of wool are put into this large machine which mixes them all together before moving on to the machines that will make the wool into cone shapes that will become hats.
The name of the place is Sombreros Sucre (Sucre Hats).  The process was really interesting to see.  There was wool in the air all throughout the process and the workers had to wear masks over nose and mouth to keep from damaging their lungs.  If OSHA were to make a visit to this place, it would immediately be shut down.  There was possible injury and health hazards at every step.

For some reason, we can't get the pictures in order.  We are at the hat factory in Sucre, which was really fascinating.  This picture shows the big rollers that make the wool into a very thin sheet.  This is done after many of the other processes.
The first process is cleaning the wool, which is done in this large vat.  Many different kinds of wool is used, some from Bolivia, Argentina, and other countries.  Some of the wool used has been rejected for use in finer fabrics.

The wool comes off those big rollers in a previous picture and these ladies guide the wool onto these forms which make the wool into cone shapes.  They know by feel just how much wool to use for the hats.

These are the cone shaped pieces of wool which will be made into different types of hats after going through some other processing.  The man in the picture is the one giving us the tour.

Some hats that have been formed by using water, heat, and shaping by hand.  They are hung on this rack by color and size.

As mentioned, these pictures are out of order.  This man is taking the cone shaped pieces of wool, soaks them with water inside and out and then, puts them on that hot ironing machine behind him to make the them very thin and flat.

At the end of the tour, we went through that little door in the background into a room where you could try on hats and buy what you liked.  Elder Dibb hit the top of his head really hard on that door and now has a bump and a big scab as a momento of the visit.  This is the hat Sister Dibb bought.  Pretty cool hat!

Elder Dibb bought this one.  Both of the hats we bought are leather, which they make here as well, but with a totally different process.  This company makes thousands of the wool hats each week for shipment all over North and South America.  85% of the hats they make are not shaped and finished here, that is done by the companies who purchase the shell of the hat.  This shell is not completely shaped but is dyed to specified colors for the buyers.

This 11 year old boy goes to school in Sucre during the week and then walks a half a day to his home for the week ends.  He shines shoes in the main plaza.  He was trying to convince us to have him polish our gym shoes to make them look like new.  We had a long conversation with him about school and and his family.

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