What is Weaving?

Weaving is the textile art in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads - called the warp and weft - are interlaced with each other at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. 

The warp threads run lengthways of the piece of cloth, while the weft runs laterally.  Cloth is woven on a loom, a device for holding the warp threads in place while the weft threads are woven through them. 

Weft is an old English word meaning "that which is woven". Woven cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or it can be woven in decorative or artistic designs. More complex designs require more complicated looms with more heddles.  Heddle refers to the piece of the loom that the warp threads go through and assist in keeping the warp threads in line.  The heddles also have the ability to move up and down which creates the interlaced effect.  

As recently as about 20 years ago, there were still many weaving villages In Turkey.  

Homes had a loom which sat in a hole dug into the main room.  The cavity was coated in a special white clay to help collect the dust.  The weaver was usually the woman of the family, and she sat within the cavity to weave for the family.  She would have also borne the responsibility of teaching her children how to weave.  Sons would become commercial weavers and daughters would weave for the family, teaching future generations.

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Today, few of these looms still exist.  Above is an example of a loom dug into the floor of the sitting room.  Below is a video of the last woman we were able to find in this village who still had a loom.  We are very sad to report that she passed away fall 2014.  

Commerical male weavers never use this style of loom and it is almost impossible to take this loom and place it somewhere else that will be of use; therefore the fate of the loom will be like all the thousands of home looms before - to the srcap yard.  

A more typical full hand loom of today is above ground (see the example in the picture below), but even these looms are disappearing.

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There are consequences: none of the children are learning to weave. Thus, no boys grow up to become commercial weavers and no girls grow up learning to weave for their own family or teach their own children.  

In just one more generation, the art of weaving in Turkey - hundreds of years of accumulated knowledge - could be lost, unless steps are taken to help save it. 

Already, 95 percent or more of the items bought by consumers around the world are made on factory machine.  Most us of have no concept about what has been lost in terms of product quality and durability.  

At Jennifer's Hamam, our objective is to help preserve the art of weaving and to support local artisans by promoting their products and quality to a market that understands the benefits to be found in materials from old-style-shuttled looms, and appreciates the human factor in the textiles.