Consisting of the towns of Trehuaco, Quirihue, Cobquecura, Coelemu, San Nicolás, Portezuelo, Ninhue, Ranquil, and Quillón, the Itata river valley is located in the Ñuble region of southern Chile.
In this stronghold of traditional agriculture, campesino families still weave artisanal products out of wheat straw. The local wheat varieties cultivated in this area are perfect for weaving.
Braids of wheat straw, known as cuelchas, are made mostly in Trehuaco,Ninhue and Quirihue by artisans known as colchanderas (in the case of women), and colchanderos (men). Then, the cuelchas are sometimes woven into chupallas, the traditional hats worn by Chile’s huasos, or cowboys.