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A Patriarch's Wish, Fulfilled

One of the families that create some of the flat-woven pieces sold by Jennifer’s Hamam is an interesting one.  They come from a long line of very famous weavers. The oldest son – and head of the family – has always been interested in working on unusual creative projects and on one of Jennifer's trips to visit during a normal discussion about what project they would be working on next,  a call came in. The family patriarch was arriving.
At 75 years old and retired for more than 20 years, their father was still renowned as one of Turkey’s most famous weavers.   As he entered the workshop, the crew of people in the workshop, stood at attention as if an emperor had entered. The respect in the air could be cut with a knife.
When this weaver retired, the sons took over the business and the eldest son - who Jennifer  normally works with - was bound and determined to modernize his father's workshop.  He saved money and bought small factory machines to do their looped towels.  The pest…
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Overview for 2012

It is difficult to believe that an entire year has passed.  Whether this is your first visit to Jennifer’s Hamam, or you have visited us before – in person or on the website - we thank each and every one of you for the efforts that you are making to ensure that Turkey’s few existing weaver families will have a livelihood come tomorrow.
Some of the highlights of the last year:
·      The third Jennifer’s Hamam shop opened in the Arasta Bazaar in August 2012 ·      The first run of 2 kilogram towels was completed in October 2012 and sold out in two weeks. The next run is expected on the shelves in April/May 2013.·      Bedsheets are back! Some of the first bedsheet sets in linen are due to hit the shelf in another month; cotton will be later in 2013.·      One family of flat weavers moved into a much larger work space; one new loom was purchased for them ·      Another family of flat weavers resurrected four old looms that were in storage and got them up and working.  These are specialized …

Silk - Part 2 - About the Family

In the late 19th century, a small community of French nationals lived in a village in Turkey’s southeast Mediterranean region, where they were skilled in the art of silk.
Meta, a weaver for Jennifer’s Hamam, is the great-grandson of a man who grew up in this village.
Dede Ahmet, Meta’s great-grandfather, learned how to reel and weave silk from his French neighbors in the village, experts in the traditional craft.

Silk - Part 1

May and June are very important months when it comes to the cycle of a silk worm's life.  There are many places around Turkey where silk worms are being raised; in fact, in the last five years there has been an enormous increase in the numbers of people cultivating silk worms. But there is only one family in the country still hand-spinning, reeling, dyeing and weaving the silk on old-style shuttled looms.  Jennifer's Hamam is grateful to be the only boutique in western Turkey working with this family.

Silk is amazing – it is a natural protein fiber and it has a long history of use in the production of fabric and other items. Silks are produced by several other insects, but generally only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile production: for more than 1,400 years, humans have been making use of this little worm's cocoon.

The silk worm's life is interesting, but short. It begins in February when his little egg comes out of stasis and begins the incubation…

A Recap of 2011 with Jennifer's Hamam

2011 was an action-packed year for Jennifer’s Hamam!

A second Jennifer's Hamam shop was opened in the Arasta Bazaar (No. 43), three new staff members were hired and 25 new designs were created, produced and placed on the shelves. A new line of keses (bath mitts) made from tree bark were added to the collection, and design choices in peskir increased by 200%.

Since the beginning of 2011, all the designs are original, limited edition, and produced entirely in Turkey, by Turkish weavers practising an ancient – and almost forgotten – craft.

Jennifer travelled 35,000 kilometers in 2011: buying natural Turkish fibers for all the woven pieces, and visiting the weavers scattered mostly in the south and southeast of Turkey. On each trip to visit the weavers, she works with them closely, creating new designs, and selecting the thread colors and combinations to come up with unique and beautiful items that reflect quality from the past.

All of the textiles in both shops are hand-woven on old-…

An Exciting Week for Jennifer's Hamam

March 5th, 2011 marked the grand opening of the 2nd location of Jennifer's Hamam
“We couldn’t be happier!!!” exclaimed Jennifer, owner.
“It’s all thanks to our wonderful customers who have chosen to support the art of weaving and the quality products made by this dying breed of artisans in Turkey.”

“The weavers that still exist in Turkey should be congratulated for persevering through this difficult time with their own dead market. These artisans have had to change their idea of business to match the needs of the outside world that is just beginning to wake up to the new-old idea of human made textiles. This is not always an easy thing to do when you've been doing the same thing for a very long time, but the weavers we work with have adjusted wonderfully!”

The new location is bright and welcoming. It carries the same wonderful quality woven textiles, but with a different flavours of designs and colours.“We don’t want to compete against ourselves; we want to expand our ran…

A new view for 2011

It's been a year and a half since our doors opened.  We've learned and grown a lot since that time.  The past year was a time for establishing our foundation and learning the business of weaving, especially in the area of woven towels with loops.  
Our goal was to acquire two more looms in 2010.  We are very excited to report we found another five! They have all been repaired and are up and running.  
Three of the looms went to our weaver, set up to accommodate the different sizes we make.  This is very exciting because prior to the acquisition of these looms, our weavers spent 2.5 days re-threading the looms each time we changed sizes.  This is a huge leap forward in our ability to produce more quickly.
The other two looms went to a family that weaves flat textiles.  After many conversations in 2010, we discovered that the grandfather of the family, now in his late 70s, used to weave with this style of loom.  The looms were given to them in late November 2010.  They have been re…