After a long dinner one evening last week in Bodrum we took a slow walk back to our apartment and somehow found ourselves entering a small shop overflowing with gorgeous Turkish carpets and textiles. The owner, a vibrant woman called Stella invited us to sit and began to unfold her wares for us to look at. It became clear very quickly that like myself, this was a woman with a passion for textiles and a deep respect for the craftspeople who create them. Stella is a story teller, who to my great pleasure managed to enthrall my whole family as much as myself with her explanations of the techniques and symbolism of the motifs in her wonderful vintage rugs.
A couple of days later I visited the shop again on my own to ask Stella a few questions about how she had come to be a carpet seller in Bodrum and to see if she would be happy for me to write about her in the blog.
Stella grew up in a household surrounded by beautiful carpets and says she can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a love of vintage textiles and carpets. Although the shop in Bodrum has only been open since May, she has worked in the business for 43 years, primarily in Istanbul. You can tell that she is a complete Magpie and says her house looks like her shop!
At times, she says that it hasn’t been easy working as a woman in Turkey, but when you meet Stella, it is clear that any obstacles she faced would only serve to make her more determined.
In the past she would travel out to the villages to source her pieces herself, but now she has people who do it for her and sometimes dealers visit her directly. Any vintage pieces are washed and if necessary, carefully repaired before being put into the shop.
We talked a bit about the painstaking processes involved in making a rug and how she sometimes struggles with customers who push hard to reduce the price by too much. When I worked for a big high street retailer we always had to be aware of the customers ‘perceived value’. If they didn’t understand how much work and skill was involved in creating something then they would not be willing to pay the price. If you think about the whole process from actually feeding the sheep to transporting the rug to the shop and all of the spinning and dyeing and weaving in between, its a wonder that these pieces aren’t even more expensive!
If you are ever in Bodrum looking for a beautiful carpet, I would strongly recommend a visit to Stella’s shop. You can find it here,
Neyzen Tevfik Cad.164/A