Under exceptionally cool weather conditions for late February, we paid another visit to the weaver region of Denizli. The conditions were much more inviting to spend our time indoors and enjoying the famed Turkish tea with friends rather than heading out for a scenic walk.

First up on my agenda – of course!- is to pop by the Buldan foundation to visit my dear friend Meryem - who initiated the foundation (that’s her in the opening image besides me in front of the Buldan foundation). In all excitement she tells that their “Education is Power Project”, that started up last year is truly a success. The financial aid available for the number of students has increased from 2 to 35 students. The foundation’s goal is to take 200 students under their wing and enable them to go to university. A portion from all treat you sales are wholeheartedly donated in support of this project. 

A brief article written by Meryem and one of the students supported by the foundation can be read through this link: “The dream to become a judge”

A short while later, Fatma joins us for a cup of tea and after some friendly chit chat speaks of the direct consequences of Turkey’s rising inflation on her life which means, much higher prices for her cotton and thread. The countries reliance on imported raw, cultivation and harvest materials, due to the insufficiency of local supplies, have made daily life more expensive. We will hear this a lot during this visit. 

I see that Fatma still weaves at the foundation’s handloom. She mentions that at her home atelier she does not weave in wintertime due to the cold. Once the temperatures start to rise again in April, she will return to her own atelier. The winter months are known to be cold in this region.   

Fatma's Pestemals have new designs and I am happily picking out a few stunning new towels for the treat you collection.  

After lunch we stop by Nurai’s house with her legendary, eccentric garden. She proudly presents her new grandchild. Nurai herself, unfortunately, had a flu which kept our time together short.  

I am so excited to see her new creations. During my last visit I chose the colours and can now see the results in front of me and am truly happy with what I see. I would like you to know that her husband weaves on a small semi-automatic loom known in Turkish as “yuvalı karah tezgah” and she twists and twirls the fringes traditionally by hand. After a lovely Turkish coffee and sweets it is time to choose my pestemals.

Like last time she has a small selection of her hand woven scarves to show me. In the image below you get to see Nurai’s handloom used in the creation of her textiles.

Last stop on our agenda for today is a visit to Ali’s atelier. He works together with two colleagues and between them run three semi-automatic looms named in Turkish as “kara tezgah” and in English as black looms. One of them is a specialized loom known as a Jacquard loom. Additionally, as you can see in the photograph below, there is a small machine, which winds the thread onto small bobbins. When weaving with the black loom, the bobbin needs to be small in order to fit inside the shuttle and needs to be changed relatively often. For more detailed description of the weaving process with a black loom please click here. 

Ali shows us his new designs and I am having a wonderfully hard time deciding what I will choose. All of them are great…

Ali has been weaving independently for four years. His story started from his childhood growing up with his artisanal weavers parents. His profound knowledge of all aspects of weaving comes from watching his parents over all those years. His path led him through various professions along his journey. Finally while waiting tables he wished for and attained his own business in his own vision. Fortunately for us.

To be continued…