This blog article is a homage to Peshtemal Hammam Towels’ homeland – Buldan. Buldan is province of Denizli on the Turkish Aegean region and it is peacefully tucked away behind the mountains. It is a retreat 45 km way from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Yes, it is a tiny village but its reputation as an important textile production centre dates back to the early years of the Ottoman Empire in 13th century.
Unlike so many of you have imagined, the textile production in Buldan is not a factory style production line. It is rather local, individual and highly specialised in artisan weaving techniques & designs, mostly traditionally done by hand and some by the automatic weaving machines yet in both cases there are always the touches of hand to finish the product.
The tassels are all hand-finished with no exception. Buldan weavers are proud to call their business as the ‘chimney-less industry’.
As you can expect the hand loomed peshtemal towels are authentically imperfect in the sense that they carry the traces of irregularities in the pattern here and there and not always come in the stated sizes as they may vary slightly in their sizes.
Each detached village house scattered over Buldan hilltop is a production unit in itself and every family members, young and old, are all member of the production chain at some point. Mostly 3 storey buildings, these houses are the self-contained centres of the peshtemal production and its storage.
The ground floor is designated for the production where the looms are placed. It is a common sight and so lovely to see the weavers actually working on their looms and hear their shuttles rhythmically moving back and forth. Their local radio is also tuned in and the music broadcasted accompanies the sound of the shuttle in this work area.
The middle floor is for the residence of the family. We have been privileged to be invited to the living quarters of one of weavers’ house. Nothing over the top, inside is very homely, humble and clean. They are all very hospitable and generous people sharing whatever they have with their guests.
Finally, the top floor of the house is for the storage of their finished products to supply their family-owned and run shop on Buldan high street.
The town’s high street is at the outskirts of the hill within the walking distance. The high street is packed with the local textile shops. Some are specialised in bath towels & robes, some in peshtemal hammam towels, some in bedspreads & throws and some others in tablecloths and scarves.
Buldan’s speciality has always been the cotton cloths. Yet with the fairly recent popularity of Bamboo fibre, Buldan weavers – strictly not all of them – added bamboo fibre to their production line. Even though Cotton & Olive’s flagship fibre is Cotton as the brand name suggests, our Bamboo & Cotton Blended Towels are among our best-sellers, especially for outdoor people. They are silky soft, absorbent, extra lightweight & compact which are the greatest virtues for the outdoors and travelling light.
Buldan is not only the home of Turkish cotton textile production, for us it is way beyond that. It is a way of genuine and accommodating lifestyle, warm and welcoming and a hub for creating unique designs. The independent craftsmen of Buldan are great enthusiasts excited to hear the new design ideas and eager to incorporate these innovative ideas into their designs to make it their own. We love what we do not only because we love the product. But we love it even more because of these craftspeople behind each and every piece created.
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