Özlem yalım Özkaraoğlu is back at her design studio after 5 years of break given for the preparations of the first İstanbul Design Biennial, organized by İKSV in 2012.

One of the products included in Studio OYO’s latest collection, is significant as it focuses on a very traditional arts and crafts technique: quilt making. Her new designed series of quilts come up as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional products.

Similar to many other cultures, quilt and quilt making has an important role in Turkish culture throughout history, as a daily life need. Quilts are still sewed for young ladies as a common dowry tradition, and are maintaining a matter in the villages of Anatolia, but not at the urban life. This craft could be kept only alive with craftsman who is experienced in art of quilting and the tradition passes from father to son; nevertheless, ready-made products are replaced with these hand-made quilts, in the modern life. The main reasons of the increase in the preference of these new substitutes are their feasible prices and the practical materials used, yet they are unnatural synthetic fibers.
The cultural heritage is now on the verge of extinction as the new generation is not willing to continue father’s workmanship, and the number of elderly craftsmen are decreasing day by day.
‘I am impressed by my own environment and interested in modernizing the values in our traditional culture as many of my colleagues’ she states and adds: ‘If we can release these every-day product which is stuck in dowry tradition by reconsidering the materials, colors and patterns, and make people embrace the idea, then we can bring in this traditional craft to the next generations!”
A totally new combination of colors (both at cover textiles and sewing ropes) are used in the new series of design, besides futuristic and modern pattern designs. They are more masculine when compared to the former quilts. They offer a comfortable elegance besides their being 100% natural with their materials. These new quilts are waiting for their new enthusiasts as they are offering a unique, valuable yet healthy night sleep item.
The designer also underlines the fact that :“ The people prefer natural products rather than synthetics which means that its time to remember the value of the former habits!” and adds: “ It was impossible to be interested in such an issue.”
The preliminary product of the series is also important as its being the first one, and is named as “Belis” which is also the intern’s name who worked with the designer during the product development. Also a documentary film has already been launched with the product, in which one can see all the details about the process and meet the craftsman “Cemal Usta” who believed in the designers and put his effort.
The studio is now working on the possibilities of exhibiting the collection abroad.