In her Kreuzberg shop, Denitsa Popova sells blankets made in Bulgaria by a family business using the traditional weaving techniques of the Balkans.
Denitsa Popova's shop in Kreuzberg is a maze of colorful knitted blankets, many made from thick Bulgarian sheep's wool. Patterned carpets in warm colors hang from the walls. This little woolly paradise, Perelic Woolen Goods, is named for a peak in the Rhodope Mountains. Here, the native Bulgarian sells little gems from her home country. But Denitsa Popova, who came to Berlin to study business, doesn't stop there.
She also collects and preserves older goat wool carpets and colorful woven kilims. This is her way of helping to conserve hundreds of years of Balkan cultural history. "These rare techniques and unique patterns would simply disappear because they’re no longer being taught," she says. Although she was born in the port city of Burgas on the Black Sea coast, Denitsa Popova has been practising this traditional craft from the Bulgarian mountains since her youth. Her grandmother lived in Kotel, near the city of Sliven, a hub for Bulgarian textile art, and Denitsa Popova would often spend her summer holidays there.
Made with care
It was with the colors and forms of the traditional art of her home country in mind that she decided to open her own business for selling blankets and carpets back in 2012 – a shop that would buck the mass market trends. It was a childhood dream come true. When Denitsa Popova finally found a small family weaving business and dyer back in Bulgaria who could help her to realize her ideas in the mild colors she envisioned, the final building block was laid.
She first began selling her blankets online. But she soon recognized that her textiles from small businesses had struck a nerve: “More and more people seem to like the idea of touching and owning something that was made with so much care,” she says. Since 2017, guests to Denitsa Popova's shop have the chance to touch, admire, and of course, purchase a piece of that magic for themselves.
Author: Iris Braun
PERELIC WOOLEN GOODS