Bulgaria: Perelic Woolen Goods

Planet Berlin: Warmth, Bulgarian-style

Rooted in the middle ages

During an extended visit to Bulgaria in 2012, Denitsa Popova had a growing desire to work with local wool whose processing has its roots in the middle ages. She came into contact with a small, family-owned factory that she still works with today.

Planet Berlin: Warmth, Bulgarian-style

Cozy warmth

Scarves and wool blankets are available from Perelic Woolen Goods in both modern and traditional patterns. For owner Denitsa Popova, who has been surrounded by woven wall decorations since early childhood, the fabrics and colors must convey warmth and security.

Planet Berlin: Warmth, Bulgarian-style

Thick weave

The warm colors of the blankets, carpets and scarves stand out in the bright Kreuzberg store. All are created by a Bulgarian family business running for three generations and with only six employees. The small hand-operated mechanical looms used create a thicker weave than modern machines. The dyeing is also done by hand.

Planet Berlin: Warmth, Bulgarian-style

Spring water softness

To enhance their softness, the blankets are washed with natural spring water after they are made. Meanwhile, traditional knitting techniques are used for Perelic Woolen Goods rugs. While many similar companies in Bulgaria have had to cease operations in recent years, Denitsa Popova keeps this last vestige of traditional craftsmanship alive.

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.

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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.

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Author: Iris Braun

PERELIC WOOLEN GOODS
Pücklerstr. 17
10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg