that will capture your heart AND save the planetOur Distinction
Step back and experience the past where quality, natural, and organic were not choices, they just were. This is a time where craftsmanship and the work of a true artisan was appreciated and items purchased became heirlooms lasting decades.
Jennifer's Hamam is a unique company that works with the last of the weaving artisans in Turkiye. Your journey with us will immerse you in this sea of rare and exceptional quality textiles all made on old-style shuttled loom with natural and sustainable threads.
A woven item is very special in today's market, not just because of its beauty, but due to its endurance: flat-woven towels (pestamel) outlast factory-made by almost three times and, in the case of thick, looped towels, between five and six times longer. When you combine this strength and integrity with the highest quality natural fibres, plus that aspect of a human soul that weaves its way into a handmade piece, you then have a product with a level of quality that is exception and a rarity these days.
Explore, learn, and enjoy the journey!
We are an example to the world of how to empower people, save cultures, heal economies, sustain the planet, and have an amazing time!!
The finest products that uniquely fuse exceptional quality and design while ensuring that the environment is not harmed.
Natural materials grown and processed in Turkey under conditions that support the soil and the planet.
Passionate, skilled craftsmen creating distinctive quality of uncommon value.
A team who support our values and work to make a positive difference in the world.
Our inner human spirit and its natural desire to celebrate life by honouring old tradition and culture.
In July 2009, Jennifer set out to look for pestamel and thick-looped towels made the traditional way. After 6 days of driving and searching, she found one man working on an old-style shuttled loom. This serendipitous meeting led to meeting another 8 weavers hanging onto their tradition by a thread. This was the meagre beginnings of Jennifer’s Hamam.
It was shocking to discover that the art of weaving was practically lost. Even more startling was had she waited to start her search just 10 days later, the ‘looping’ technique that creates the original thick-looped Turkish towels would have been lost forever. Had she waited 6 months, the entire art of weaving in Turkiye would have been completely extinct.
The support of clients who cherish the quality these artisans produce have allowed Jennifer’s Hamam to expand. When looms are located, they are purchased and refurbished. Roughly 600 working looms are being operated by approx. 3 times that many artisans. With the exception of the 9 craftspeople Jennifer first started with, the rest of the weavers went bankrupt prior to the birth of the company and are weaving again with Jennifer’s Hamam.
That said, it has been more than 40+ years since anyone has learned how to weave and eventually the art will still die if nothing is done. It is Jennifer’s dream to build a weaving school to actually save the art.
GOTS certified organic Turkish cotton threads are purchased by Jennifer to ensure quality standards are met. Organic cotton requires approx. 11 times less water to grow; it does not contaminate the soil, the water table, or the people that still hand-pick it in Turkiye; it’s more absorbent, releases the moisture more quickly, has its antibacterial properties intact, will not go hard, or smell musty.
Jennifer sources the best quality linen threads available in Turkey. An amazingly strong fibre that holds 40x its own weight in water without feeling wet, it was the choice fibre for thousands of years until industrial machines could not cope with uneven, hairy character. On a loom, a weaver must slow down 50% to weave in linen. For absorbency, breathability, and last ability, linen wins every time.
Today’s modern day silk is reeled using very high temperatures and chemicals to increase the speed at which the thread can be obtained from the cocoon. Our silk threads are hand-reeled and hand-spun by the last family still doing the entire process of silk for end product use. Hand-reeled silk using proper temperatures and no chemicals results in a thread stronger than steel.
Jennifer is the founder and owner of Jennifer’s Hamam. While running her first business (a cafe/art gallery) she learned about many different Turkish handicrafts - ceramics, carpets, textiles - and the one that was mentioned often but did not exist in the area was the famous Turkish (looped) towels made on looms.
The idea of opening a shop selling these extraordinary towels stayed in her mind as a 'next project' idea. Shortly after the sale of her first business in June 2009, a colleague alerted her to the fact that a shop in the Arasta Bazaar was for sale. She had to move fast to not lose the opportunity. With the shop acquired, but nothing in hand to put in it, she headed out into the Turkish country-side to look for weavers. It quickly became apparent the entire industry was all but extinct.
The doors to Jennifer's Hamam opened August 1st, 2009. Jennifer admits that although she loved textiles, she really knew nothing about them. She states; “I am grateful to all my weavers who have shared their wisdom and knowledge with me." The initial idea of just selling high quality textiles soon grew to a higher purpose of saving the art of weaving.
Jennifer firmly believes that if we are to save the planet, we need to lighten our carbon footprint and stop using things that are in constant need of replacement and are thrown in the landfills to quickly after purchase. Her focus on products that will last longer and be more enjoyable to use is paramount when she buys threads. "We are so lucky to have caught these artisans before the entire weaving culture was lost, but the real credit belongs to the clients that have supported us over the last 14 years and continue to recommend us. Without them, weaving would have already disappeared completely."
Influenced by music, art and travel, her designs are filled with soul. An ever ending array of beautiful neutrals to fantastic rainbows of colour. Whether exotic, eclectic, neutral or contemporary, there is something to please all taste; the most difficult part is choosing. Most say one visit is never enough and when they return home wish they had chosen more. The years of enjoyment brought from such quality items will keep reminding you of Jennifer and her weavers again and again.