Browsing through my photo albums the other day, I came across a picture of an old village lady on the beach in Turkey that brought back a memory I wanted to share with you. It was about two years after opening the doors of Abrash, and I had taken some time off to visit my family in Turkey. Every time we visit family, we try to gather everyone at a vacation spot so we can all relax and enjoy our time together.
This particular time, we decided to go to Assos, an Aegean-coast seaside retreat about 40 miles south of Troy. Though I had always heard great things about the town, I had never vacationed in the area. I was especially excited for this trip, not only because of the beautiful landscape, but also because of the many small villages in the region where woven arts are a crucial part of the economy.
On one of these days, while I was enjoying the peace and serenity under the sun with soothing sounds of the waves, I saw an old village woman carrying a pile of kilims on her back, trying to sell them. Most tourists ignored her presence. It was a hot day, so I asked her if she wanted some water after carrying all those heavy kilims from the mountains where she lived. She put down her pile next to me and started to tell me her story.
This villager’s family was part of a Turkoman tribe who makes these kilims for their homes and to make a living. Her son was getting married and they needed money for his wedding, but after coming to the beach to sell these pieces for several days, she didn’t have much hope left to raise the money. I was very saddened by the hardships she told me about. I asked her to open the pile so I could look at the quality of her work. I was very impressed by the natural dyes and workmanship. The more I spoke with her, the more people were intrigued and wanted to join the conversation.
I raved about these kilims to the group, and within half an hour, I had sold all of them for her (even in my bathing suit ). This woman couldn’t believe that everything had sold. Not only did she not have to carry them on her back all the way to the village, which was quite far, but she could also afford to buy a bus ticket back instead of trekking back by foot.
Making a small difference in this woman’s life warmed my heart. Now she could give the money to her son for his wedding. It’s moments like this when I realize how much I love what I do and why it is that I started this gallery in the first place. Come in and take a look at some of the kilims we have in store now. Each of them has a story just as beautiful and touching as this.