Blissful Organic Turkish Towel - Tangerine

  • Turkish towels, also known as pestemal, are simply the most stylish, practical towels around. Blissful, our most diverse pestemal collection, are ideal as bath towels, beach towels, picnic blankets, sarongs, wraps, kid towels, or on the boat. Fill a basket with these and you will find yourself grabbing them for a multitude of purposes. Orange with hand-tied fringe.

    > wonderfully soft touch, fast-drying, absorbent, and take up little valuable room in the cupboard
    > hand-loomed in Turkey from 100% organic cotton with naturally-dyed threads
    > loomed on traditional shuttle-style looms
    > launder beautifully - grow softer and more absorbent with use

    Details & Care: Machine wash cool, tumble dry low. No bleach or fabric softener. 290 gram weight. 62" x 37"
  • Pestemal, more commonly known as Turkish Towels, have a cadre of worldwide devotees today due to both their beauty and practicality. Many different countries have a multi-purpose textile similar to pestemals, the most well-known being the fouta from Tunisia.

    Pestemal were historically used in Middle Eastern and North African countries as part of the hammam ritual. Historically, the hammam was a gathering point, a place to meet, relax, and catch up with friends and family. Pestemal were used in the hamam as both a towel and as a status symbol of sorts – generally an individual’s pestemal was indicative of his/her status in society. 

    Traditionally, pestemal were made by artisans on hand-looms. However, as technology has improved, handlooms have largely lost out to more efficient, automated machines, which can make pestemals much more quickly than artisans, can (whereas an efficient artisan may be able to produce 2-10 pestemals a day depending on the design, a machine can produce many hundreds). Call me naïve, but before visiting Turkey on our first sourcing trip, we thought all pestemals were still hand-made the traditional way. Not so! Today, the vast majority of pestemals produced in Turkey are made on automated looms. Although these techniques produce pestemals, which appear very similar to the traditional, hand-loomed pestemals, the touch and feel of hand-loomed pestemals is unmatched. 

    Unfortunately, hand-loomed textiles are a dying art in Turkey, and many other countries around the world. Lower-cost, machine-made textiles have taken over the markets and forced many families of artisans, who have passed their handicrafts down from generation to generation, to find alternative means of survival due to lack of a market for their goods. What a shame! Although they cannot compete on price, it is difficult, if not impossible, to surpass the quality of hand-loomed textiles. 

    One of the significant differences between hand-loomed pestemals made of organic cotton and those manufactured in factories on automated machines is the chemical treatment used to make non-organic pestemals absorbent. Unfortunately, this chemical treatment creates towels that become stiff after they are washed and dried. In addition, fabric softener builds up on the fibers of the cloth, ultimately water-proofing the towels. By contrast, hand-woven, organic pestemals become softer and more absorbent with each wash. The quality of our Turkish Towels improves with use!

    Thus, after visiting multiple cities and meeting countless pestemal producers and vendors, we ultimately decided that we would carry only hand-loomed pestemals. Not only are we committed to supporting small artisans preserve their traditional crafts, but the superior quality of hand-loomed pestemals is hard to resist. 

  • I fell in love with pestemals when visiting France, where they are used extensively. After having a hard time finding high-quality pestemal in the US, I traveled to Turkey to find artisan producers. After an extensive search, I found a collective of artisans that work to produce pestemals the way their families have made them for generations - on old shuttle-style looms.

    By purchasing Ella Lou hand-loomed pestemals you are supporting artisan weavers and their families. The weavers that loom our pestemals are paid fair wages. Most work in their village or family units to weave and finish pestemals; frequently the men loom the pestemals while women prep the threads for looming and twist the fringe on each completed pestemal.

    The domestic market for traditionally-made pestemals has disappeared due to the influx of large factories in Turkey. Many weavers have lost their livlihood and been forced to seek alternative employment. By purchasing Ella Lou pestemals you are not only purchasing the high-quality pestemals, but also proving a livelihood for artisan families and helping to ensure the art of looming is passed down to future generations.

     





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