Zemzem Gök is a mosaic artist in the Antakya district of southern Hatay province. Three years ago, she met Syrian artist Fatma Dendüş, also a mosaic artist, via social media. The duo soon after started to create decorative art together, turning their hobby into a business venture.
Gök and Dendüş first prepared mosaics using colored stones and ceramics from their respective homes. After a while, however, they decided to open a workshop to perform their art comfortably and make their hobby financially viable. They became business partners and ran their workshop from the ground floor of a house in Antakya.
The money trickled in as they sold their pieces, and the business grew. They went on to hire 40 Turkish and Syrian employees.
Thanks to their passion for mosaics, Gök and Dendüş expanded their business by selling their pieces in Europe, the Middle East and the United States through social media.
Gök told Anadolu Agency (AA) that she learned the art of mosaic by attending a training program. Gök said she dealt with this art as an amateur for some time.
“Then I met Dendüş via social media. After developing a friendship, we decided to carry our hobby into a business together,” she added.
Implying they get along well with each other, she said: “Working with a Syrian partner is a good feeling. I think we are on the same wavelength. Since I can speak Arabic, we do not have any problems understanding each other.”
Syrian national Dendüş migrated to Turkey with her family in 2015 due to the ongoing civil war in her country. Explaining that she dealt with mosaic art for about 15 years back home, Dendüş said, "After meeting Gök in Hatay three years ago, we decided to open a business together. Then we hired a few employees. As our business grew, the number of employees increased.”
The duo with their employees usually produce mosaic paintings. However, they also create necklaces, rings and crowns decorated with mosaics. According to Gök, some people also visit their workshop and buy products.
They now want to teach the art of mosaics to more people and aim to expand their business to provide more employment opportunities to women. “We especially want to employ women who do not have the opportunity to work outside and have children here,” Dendüş added.