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Soumak Boutique hosts Turkish Ceramic Painting Workshop

Soumak Boutique hosts Turkish Ceramic Painting Workshop

On April 16, Rasha and Elvira, co-founders of Soumak Boutique, and Turkish artist Yunus joined together to host a session on traditional Turkish ceramic painting at the Kids Market on Granville Island.

“The idea is that in this very fast-paced life, sometimes we need to calm down and be closer to our inner selves,” Rasha said. “Art usually helps with that. We wanted to give this opportunity to people to learn about art and at the same time calm down a little bit.”

Around 20 Vancouverites participated in the workshop, styling a number of ceramic plates, mugs, and bowls with guidance from Yunus, a local Turkish artist. With a kaleidoscope of different colours in their arsenal, participants flexed their skills in decorative arts and spent time learning about the historical significance of Middle Eastern art styles.

Turkey hosts a noteworthy blend of Eastern and Western influences which are reflected in its rich history of ceramic art. The ceramic art styles found in Turkey that captivates a global audience today is a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between Chinese and Islamic cultures. The vibrant Iznik ceramics, the distinctive artwork recognized worldwide were first popularized in the 15th century


At Soumak Boutique’s Turkish Ceramic Painting Workshop, participants were provided with an empty canvas in the form of ceramic plates, mugs, and bowls. Photo by Alec Regino


For Rasha, the genesis of this workshop and Soumak Boutique itself can be traced back to her life before she moved to Canada in 2014. Working with refugees as a part of the International Rescue Committee and the UNHCR, Youssef saw firsthand the potential of art as therapy.

“When I was in Lebanon, I worked with a support group of women refugees who used art to share the story of their refugee journey,” Rasha says. “I discovered through them that art is therapeutic: it can change lives and at the same time revive cultures.”

Today, Soumak Boutique operates by celebrating immigrant and refugee artists, providing them a platform to showcase their work and a space where Canadians can discover and purchase art that supports refugees. The workshop, which is the first of a series that Soumak Boutique is planning, allows for intercultural learning and encourages appreciation for the different groups that live and work here in Canada. 


Rasha Youssef and Elvira Seydaliyeva speak to participants at the workshop. Photo by Alec Regino