February 1, 2011

New Horizons 2011 - Jennifer's Hamam


It's been a year and a half since our doors opened.  We've learned and grown a lot since that time.  The past year was a time for establishing our foundation and learning the business of weaving, especially in the area of woven towels with loops.  


Our goal was to acquire two more looms in 2010.  We are very excited to report we found another five! They have all been repaired and are up and running.  


Three of the looms went to our weaver, set up to accommodate the different sizes we make.  This is very exciting because prior to the acquisition of these looms, our weavers spent 2.5 days re-threading the looms each time we changed sizes.  This is a huge leap forward in our ability to produce more quickly.


The other two looms went to a family that weaves flat textiles.  After many conversations in 2010, we discovered that the grandfather of the family, now in his late 70s, used to weave with this style of loom.  The looms were given to them in late November 2010.  They have been repaired and the grandfather is now teaching the members of the family how to operate them. We're hopeful that by March we will start to receive pieces produced on these new-to-us looms.


It's the beginning of a new year.  The fruits of seeds planted in 2010 are now ripening.   Any looped towel made on our looms will be run one at a time with a proper salvage.  All items made in 2011 will be our exclusive Jennifer's Hamam design.  Three of the families we were worried would stop weaving last year are continuing and feeling new hope for the future.


So what's on the horizon?  


It's our goal in the next 3-5 years that we double the number of our looms working on our exclusive designs.  


In the next year, we will be approaching International colleges and universities to set up a program  to have students study with our silk weavers for 3 to 12 months.  This family, specializing in the precious but time-intesive silk work wants to give up the raising of silk worms, and the spinning, dying and weaving of silk.  Financially it's becoming a burden for them; finding reliable staff that won't steal their ideas is more and more difficult.  If they stop what they are doing and move on to other materials, such as cotton, the loss would be immeasurable.  A student program will benefit all parties and will hopefully be the first step to helping this family continue their art.


Another exciting idea came when an interested expat friend and her Turkish husband alerted us to a small group of Turkish women from the North-West of Turkey who are interested in learning how to weave.  At this point we have no idea how we will equip them with looms or who will be their teacher, but we will be on the scene trying to put this project together.

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