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Passage from the Chicago Tribune article

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--- Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1988

by Stephen Franklin

"Seventy years ago, the tiles on the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Old City were in serious disrepair, and Jerusalem's British military governor, as well as a committee of concerned citizens, set out to hire the best potters in the Middle East to repair them.

They found David Ohannessian, an Armenian potter in Kutahia, Turkey, who was a master of the art, which had been centered there since the 15th century. Ohannessian recruited Karakashian's father, a veteran painter, a master potter named Nishan Balian, and 10 other Armenian workers to join him in Jerusalem.

Their plans to restore the Dome of the Rock were put off, however, for monetary and other reasons. Eventually, Ohannessian opened a shop in the Old City and found a market selling dishes, tiles and pots in the colorful designs to the British and wealthy local residents.

Within a few years, his two top assistants, Nishan Balian and Karakashian's father, opened their own store in a combined workshop and home on Nablus road just outside the Old City. The partners and their families prospered there for 40 years until the founders died.

The sons ended the partnership, although they remained friends. Stepan and Berge Karakashian moved to their current shop on the ancient Via Dolorosa in the Old City.

Balian took up his father's love of working at a potter's wheel, designing fragile vases from chunks of clay just as Karakashian inherited his father's love of colors and design.

Of the two, Karakashian's pottery has remained the most loyal to the old Ottoman style of flowers, and geometric designs painted in dazzling blues, greens and turquoise shades over a white background. But his pottery also has scenes from ancient Armenian manuscripts and churches."

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