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Meet the Ottoloom Weavers

Well I must apologise as I have been very slack on the blog recently.  To kick off hopefully more regular blog posts I thought I’d share with you a beautiful story about one of our weaving families, and the lovely Jennifer who is resurrecting traditional weaving in Turkey.

I hope you enjoy this heart-warming story. Grab a cuppa, it’s a long one!

One of the Turkish families who create some of our products come from a long line of very famous weavers. 

At 75 years old and retired for more than 20 years, the family patriarch was still renowned as one of Turkey’s most famous weavers.   When he retired his sons took over the business and were determined to modernise by buying some small factory machines.  Jennifer, who manages all our weavers and products in Turkey, told the son that they would not be able to work together if he used factory machines.  The son was shocked but sat and listened to his father and Jennifer speak about why old looms should be used.

The father chain-smoked and drank cup after cup of hot tea throughout the conversation which at first centred on family, as is the culture in Turkey, and then turned to weaving.  Jennifer told him that she believed the only way to save the art of weaving was to create things that could not be recreated on factory machines and to use threads that were of the best quality possible.

The father asked his sons to collect some pieces that had been made on one of their oldest looms. Several amazing pieces were delivered and, one by one, the father started to talk about them.  Jennifer was completely entranced. The pieces were so amazing, unlike anything she had seen before.  The newest of the three pieces was 45 years old. The oldest piece was around 55 years.   

The father launched into an explanation of the looms on which these pieces had been woven and, in the middle of this, said casually that he would take Jennifer to see them one day.  She was astonished that the looms still existed.

The father explained that the boys put them in storage, but he wouldn’t let them sell them. Jennifer's head was swimming with ideas. The next hour was devoted to the possibility of bringing these looms back to life.

Under strict orders by his father, by January 2012, the eldest son had obtained a new space for the express purpose of getting the looms up and running again.  The fact that they had been in storage for 30 years, made them a repair man's nightmare. The father became immersed in work again, getting the looms back into action.

And then terrible news in the summer of 2012: the father passed away.  The family was completely devastated and so was Jennifer.

For the next few months no work was done, depression loomed over everyone and they couldn't seem to find the motivation to work at all as they mourned the death of this amazing man.

Finally, on a visit in late in January 2013, Jennifer spent a week in the village and talked to the sons about their father and how important the work on the looms was. Tears running down his face, the oldest son apologized for his laziness over the last months and said his sorrow had taken over. He said he vowed to spend every waking moment ensuring the two looms worked again in tribute and honour of his father's career as a weaver.  Jennifer left from that trip with a full heart, moved by his words and his new found dedication for the past ways.  

At the beginning of March, 2013, the first run of flat woven pestamel were delivered from the resurrected looms. They were beautiful and unlike anything that could be produced on factory machines. The family continues to supply Ottoloom products.

This story is just one example of the families who make our products in Turkey.  Everything is truly hand woven – no semi-automatic or factory machines.  This results in the range of weaves throughout our products to be incomparable to any other flat woven Turkish pestamel (towels, throws and blankets).