I will never forget the sounds I heard while walking the uneven, hilly streets of Buldan, Turkey. Clickity-clack, clickity-clack, clickity-clack... the sounds of working old-fashioned looms filled the air.
I traveled to Turkey in 2014 in pursuit of experiencing Turkish culture and learning more about their beautiful textiles. I traveled alone from Istanbul to Denizli, to Buldan and then to the coastal town of Kas and back again by bus. Buses are the preferred mode of public transportation in Turkey, which I now understand; I felt safe and comfortable throughout the entire trip and there were even two young men serving coffee, tea and snacks along the way - bus stewards of sorts.
Along the way, I met many artisans - some large businessses, some small family owned operations and all with varying levels of expertise and specialties. Although there are many traditional Turkish patterns and designs, each artisan has their own techniques, cotton source, traditions and talents. It was fascinating to see how large the textile industry is in Turkey but at the same time there are still many artisans creating unique and innovative designs.
In Denizli, a local man offered to give me a tour of the nearby village of Buldan. In almost every home we passed you could see and hear a local artisan guiding a seasoned loom. He explained that these families have been weaving for generations and in many Turkish towns, such as Buldan, it is the trade & livelihood of the majority of the towns' residents.
As we explored Buldan's small, hilly, winding streets, we were welcomed into the homes of many of the artisans. We walked into rooms filled with hanging spools of cotton in many colors and intricate thread patterns trailing down from the ceiling to the grandiose looms. The most interesting of all, were the artisans manning the looms and their unique characteristics and styles. Traditionally, the men of the family run the looms and the women complete the finishing touches, such as twisting the tassels or stitching the edges. With a smile, they kindly demonstrated the process and showed us how these aged machines guided by their experienced hands, create such beautiful textiles. One man in particular was extremely happy and welcoming. He gave us a tour of his workshop but also of his large rickety porch where his homemade brick oven bakes their daily flatbread. His wife served us delicious Turkish coffee and we communicated with bits of English but mostly hand gestures and smiles. He work was some of the first textiles we added to the Hygge Life collection and we continue to offer his beautiful creations in our shop.
Some people ask, why are Turkish textiles hygge? It isn't the textiles themselves that are hygge but it's the stories behind them and the moments created with them. I may be especially connected to the textiles after meeting the people and the looms behind them but I hope that you also feel this connection by hearing this story. And I hope that these textiles help create beautiful, special, hygge moments in your everyday life. Maybe just by seeing the pure beauty of their patterns & colors or feeling their warmth and softness while wrapping up in them or by creating an intimate moment with loved ones while using them as a picnic blanket or tablecloth.