It's 38 degrees in mid-August in Denizli, western Turkey, and we're sitting in the car with our Turkish partners and their little daughter on the way to one of our production sites. We've been driving for a good three quarters of an hour when we finally turn off the highway. The village we are heading for is on a hill, and the car groans as we climb steep slopes several times. As it struggles upwards, we enjoy the fantastic view over the green slopes all around. One last steep slope and we push little rocks under the tires of the car - we made it. In the bright sunlight we catch sight of a gate leading into a courtyard.
As we step through, we find ourselves in an idyll where time has stood still. We see aubergines, peppers and chillies hanging on a linen in the sun to dry and store for the winter. The outhouse is made of wood and is very simple. Several cats come towards us, hungry for attention, a bathtub full of water to wash our hands, and finally the friendly face of the woman who lives here with her husband and daughter for the summers. Following Turkish hospitality, we sit with the family around a table and drink Turkish tea. It's unbelievably hot here, but the view and the pleasant atmosphere make up for it.
After the tea glasses have been emptied several times, we finally go over to production - not that we haven't heard the loud rattling of the semi-automatic looms in the background the whole time - and we see four large looms working at full speed. A worker grins at us with a cigarette in his mouth and turns off the machines so we can talk. Our Turkish is poor, but our partners help us with the communication.
The technical details are too complex for a layman to really understand, but you can clearly feel and see that real craftsmanship is being produced here. We spot our blankets and towels, which are in the middle of the weaving process; bright colors and wild patterns, but also soft earth tones. When the father of the family switches the machines back on, we watch in fascination how the so-called shuttle lines up the weft thread and how the shafts of the semi-automatic loom move up and down, so that at the end of the process we - and you - hold your beautiful handmade blanket, Turkish towel or scarf in hands.
As we step out of the cool semi-darkness into the blazing midday heat, the small yard seems as if nothing could be more peaceful. All around us, stray cats nuzzling our legs and stacks of ready-made Turkish blankets in classic diamond patterns and beautiful designs. The man approaches me and says something in Turkish. Our partners from Denizli translate: 'These are yours.' He points to a stack of royal blue Marmaris blankets and a colorful stack of Antalya scarves. It's hard to believe that far from the hustle and bustle these products are produced piece by piece in this idyllic mountain village to find their purpose somewhere as a throw on a couch or around the neck of someone as a scarf.
When we finally say goodbye and drive down the steep serpentines back to Denizli, we make a short stop to eat traditional Turkish simit and chat about the production site. But my head is full of the images of the family, their hospitality and openness, and we plan to go back soon.