As well as their beautiful appearance and adaptable year round style each Solamante bag has it's own story to tell.
Our principal raw materials are the new leaves of the palm 'Chamaerops Humilis' (also know as the Mediterranean dwarf palm) which is the only palm that is native to continental Europe. This palm grows most abundantly along the mediterranean coasts of southern Spain and northern Morocco.
The small new leaves or shoots that are produced at the end of each summer are collected carefully, by hand, in a harvesting process that favours the strong and sustainable growth of the palm. After being harvested, the leaves are dried in the sun and then hand woven by traditional craftsmen and women using techniques which have stayed the same for centuries.
The elaboration of each bag is a manual process that takes hours, where the amount of time required depends on the complexity of the weave, the features desired and also the size of the finished bag. The exact measurements and the definitive style of each bag often vary with each one produced due as much to the characteristics of the leaves used to weave them as to those of the hands that did the weaving.
This type of bag forms an integral part of mediterranean culture as the palm provide a sustainable naturally available resource which was initially transformed into bags for use by manual workers and for load bearing tasks in general. However, due to their great beauty, style and character they have become a permanent feature in all aspects of daily life.
Cow / Goat Leather
Our handles and finishings are produced from these two types of leather. This leather is produced by local craftspeople in Spain and Morocco and the end results are both beautiful and extremely durable.
The traditional glass beads that originate from Ghana are often referred to as Krobo beads. The name comes from the Krobo mountains which is the main area where the beads are produced.
The raw material for the beads is recycled glass, this is primarily bottles but other glass items are also used. The process begins with a cleaning and grouping by colour phase. These groups are either broken into small fragments for making translucent beads, or ground (with a metal pestle and mortar) and then sieved to produce the fine powder required to make powder glass beads. This powder is often mixed with ceramic dyes in order to produce more variety in the beads distinctive colouring.
Clay moulds are used to produce the beads and they are lined with kaolin which prevents the fused glass from sticking to the surface. Once the moulds are filled with the coloured glass powder, cassava stalks are inserted into the middle of each mould. These stalks are then vapourised during the fusion process leaving behind the holes that are used for threading the beads.