Though contemporary in style and function, the process involved in the creation of each pamuk is far from modern.
The ancient tradition of hand looming is deeply rooted in Turkey’s history, particularly in regions where difficult land conditions have made agriculture a less viable industry. Historically, the distinctive weave patterns and colours of each towel denoted the region from which they came and served as the signature of the artisans that crafted them. To meet the demand for these beautiful textiles, young men began learning the craft at the age of 6, taught by grandfathers, fathers and uncles to carry on the tradition. But, the introduction of mass produced Turkish linens on mechanical looms has had a destructive effect on the market. Regions that once flourished with textile production lost vital jobs and suffered devastating economic consequences. Graveyards of shuttle looms began appearing in fields and on roadsides. Today, in the limited regions still known for their textile production, the art form is still at risk. It competes with ongoing mass production, which drives down the cost of Turkish textiles on the International market, and faces an aging population of artisans without protégés willing to learn the makers’ ways.
In Pamukkale, our pamuk team is lead by a 7th generation weaver who oversees the complete process from the sourcing and selection of the organic cotton and natural dyes, to the tying of each individual tassel.
Every member of the team plays a vital role in the creation of your pamuk. Each of our four antique shuttle looms which were rescued from the town of Buldan and carefully restored, are operated by a single weaver. Even before the work can begin, the loom must be set – a painstakingly slow and expensive process to dictate the design of the towel. It takes as little as an entire day and as much as an entire week for the weavers to turn a single completed pamuk over to the women. The women then carefully palm roll, braid and tie each of the individual tassels, sitting closely in a circle to meticulously create the final delicate detail of each pamuk. This non-mechanical process, while slower and more labour intensive elongates the lifespan of your pamuk and preserves a tradition at risk of extinction. Ever more important, the team of individuals responsible for their creation are compensated fairly and work in a social, safe, environment, true to the culture and tradition of the task at hand.
The care that goes into the creation of each hand-woven pamuk can be felt when you examine the details. The softness of the cotton, the weight, the distinctiveness of the pattern, the delicate but durable nature of each tassel. The makers are deeply connected to these artisan towels and the authenticity of their creation is tangible. When you choose to purchase a pamuk, you join the weave, through both the physical material and your support of ethically handmade goods.
There you have it! So next time if you ever wonder #whomademyclothes (or in this case pamuk), we definitely know who makes our products.
Stay rad guys!