Hamam 3
Delivered to Stack subscribers in  Apr 2021

by Heval Okcuoglu in April 2021
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At first glance, Hamam is simply a magazine about bathing: warm, comfortable, and familiar, it’s a universal subject that crosses borders and engages readers around the world with stories of relaxing, cleansing, and self-care. Hamam acts as a kind of soapy tour guide, with pieces on the respective bathing cultures of Japan’s Sentō, Russia’s Seleznyovsky Baths, and Iceland’s public pools.

But look closer and there’s something else going on here too; a deeper, more challenging agenda that flows through the magazine right from the front cover with its enigmatic strapline, “The Magazine of Letting Go”. That radicalism is front and centre in the magazine’s opening article, a first-person account of bathing with a Sufi master, and probably most strongly present in the piece on sound baths, which dispenses with water altogether to explore vibration and the healing potential of sound. Finding all these unconventional ideas and extreme experiences bundled together under the familiar banner of the bath is a delight.




Ekin Balcıoğlu

Job title
Editor-in-chief and co-founder

What is Hamam?
Hamam Magazine is a bathing-obsessed print periodical. Featuring essays, artist projects, photography, and interviews with unconventional spirits all over the world, Hamam explores the art and culture of bathing and many other practices of letting go.

What makes it different to the rest?
We approach every page of Hamam with no predetermined layout and no restrictions on design. Just like water in a vessel, our visual identity adapts to fill the contours of a contributor’s content. Reinventing the look and feel of Hamam means our readers never know what’s going to be on the next page, let alone in the next issue.

Who makes Hamam?
Each magazine is a creative collaboration with every one of our contributors. Okay Karadayılar is our designer, Ali Taptık supervises production at our print house (Ofset Yapimevi), and Lindsey Westbrook is our editorial advisor and copy editor. When my husband Steve and I came up with the idea for Hamam in 2019, we had no publishing experience and many people told us bathing was too niche. However, we persisted in publishing Hamam, because we think more people should take time to enjoy a bath.

Who reads it?
Curious minds who like to get wet and are seeking contemplative retreat.

Why do you work in magazines?
Because there wasn’t a magazine out there that cares as much as we do about a good soak.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
I love to road trip, be in nature, and soak in new places along the way. We recently bought a van and have been embracing our newfound freedom to roam in our campsite on wheels.

What would you change about Hamam if you could?
International shipping pricing — why does it cost so much to send someone a magazine?

Where do you see Hamam in five years?
I have many visions for what Hamam can be with the ultimate goal in my mind to restore the ritual of bathing throughout the universe.

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