Inspired by childhood visits to her grandmother’s mountain home, Denitsa Popova brings traditional Balkan craft to her tiny Kreuzberg shop in the form of sumptuous woollen blankets. Designed in Berlin, woven in Bulgaria, her delicate products help preserve centuries of artisanal technique.
Denitsa Popova’s shop in Kreuzberg is a maze of colourful knitted blankets, many made from thick Bulgarian sheep’s wool. Patterned carpets in warm colours hang from the walls. This little woolly paradise, Perelic Woolen Goods, is named after 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 colourful 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.
It was with the colours and forms of the traditional art of her home country in mind that she decided to open her own business selling blankets and carpets back in 2012 — a shop that would buck 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 realise her ideas in the mild colours she envisioned, the final building block was laid.
She first began selling her blankets online. But she soon recognised 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.
All photos by Lena Ganssmann
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Perelic Woolen Goods
Pücklerstr. 17, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
T (+49) 177 543 09 71
Summer opening hours: Wed+Fri 11am-7pm, Thu 2pm-8pm, Sat 11am-6pm