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From byzantine to bath, beach and beyond

We’ve invested in gorgeous new Lüks Linen spa towels for our guests to wrap themselves in while relaxing in our new Sensory Spa Garden. We’re super excited about them, and thought you might like to know a little more about these colourful, practical, ethical and stylish wraps.

So, we asked Rachel Ward of Lüks Linen to give us the lowdown.

Offer

As an introduction to the wonderful world of peshtemals, Lüks Linen is offering Bedruthan guests 20% off their first order. Just visit lukslinen.com and enter the code SPA20 at the checkout.

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Why you’ll want a Lüks Linen Towel

Hand woven Turkish towels – known as a ‘peshtemal’ or ‘fouta’ – have been around for hundreds years, but they are finally having their moment in the limelight. From A-list celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey, to interior stylists and online fashion stores, it seems lots of people are now extolling the virtues of this centuries-old item.

And as we become more environmentally and ethically aware, thinking more about how and where the goods we buy are produced, it’s no surprise that the peshtemal is becoming a valued, if not essential, everyday item for savvy and eco-friendly consumers.

Versatile

In our throw away age of high consumption, where much of what we buy is disposable, the peshtemal offers a much-needed antidote. Some of our best quality towels are produced in the Denizli region of Turkey, where master ateliers weave on shuttle looms, with locally-grown, hand spun and dyed natural cotton. Highly absorbent and quick drying, peshtemals are perfect for the bathroom. Being lightweight, they don’t take up much room in bags or suitcases, so they make the great travel, festival and gym towels, as well as lovely baby blankets. Being woven from cotton, they are gentle on the skin, and are kinder to the environment as they take up less space in a washing machine and don’t need to be laundered as often as traditional towels.

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Peshtemals also come in a stunning range of colours and patterns, so they make a striking addition to any outfit. They’re great for layering as seasonal scarves and wraps, and when those warmer summer days and holidays come they make great sarongs and dresses. Less, in this case, is definitely more! But it’s not just the versatility of these towels that is compelling, so is their history and culture.

History

The history of the peshtemal begins in the 14th century when the first hamams, or public baths, were built. To this day, hamams include hot steam rooms and cold water for bathing, and are a place to go to relax and socialise, as well as ridding the body of toxins. The flat woven peshtemal became really popular in the 17th century, and were used in hamams as they could be wrapped around the body to protect one’s modesty whilst at the baths, as well as being perfect for drying the body after bathing.

Hand woven on shuttle looms, the peshtemal was originally long and narrow, but now commonly measures around 90 x 170cm. Pashtemals were also used during ceremonial baths for brides the day before their wedding, and different towels were used to dry the bride’s head, shoulders and body. As the Ottoman Empire grew, so did the use of the towel. Weavers were asked to embroider more elaborate designs, aided by their knowledge of carpet-weaving. By the 18th century, towels began to feature loops sticking up from the pile of the material. These looped towels became known as ‘havly’. Over time, this word became ‘havlu’, the modern Turkish word for towel.

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Today, like many handcrafts, the looming industry has been hard hit by mechanisation and the introduction of machine manufacturing. At one point, it looked as though mass production would destroy this artisan industry. A machines could produce thousands of towels in the same time that took an artisan to produce just one by hand. This, coupled with modernisation and mobility meant that younger generations were increasingly keen to leave their villages to head for the opportunities that city living afforded them, leaving loom weavers no younger generation to pass on their centuries-old traditions down to.

But…that mobility has, in part, led to the revival of this art form. As more people travel for work and pleasure these days, the hand woven peshtemal is enjoying something of a resurgence, which has, in turn provided an increased demand for these original, high quality hand woven products. The traditional shuttle looms are back in business, producing towels of a quality that the machines simply can’t compete with. The high speed of a machine loom stresses the cotton fibres, resulting in a rough, poor-quality feel.

In comparison, the gentle click-clack of the shuttle loom respects the cotton and creates a luxuriously soft towel that with the proper love and care can last a lifetime.

About Lüks Linen

Lüks Linen is a small, independent business based in Brighton. We source, curate and sell ethically-produced, hand woven home and lifestyle wares from Turkey. Our towels, blankets, throws and cushions (hand-made here in Brighton) are made from 100% cotton. We only work with small family ateliers and artisans, whom have been hand looming for generations, and in doing so, we hope to go some way to help in sustaining this tradition, which has been heavily impacted by machine manufacturing. We love that each of our products is multi-faceted so you can use them for a variety of purposes both in and out of the home and, as such they are a little kinder on the environment.