mag banner oya tekbulut.jpg__PID:039e56bc-9306-431f-a847-ebfd797d31d4

Good People of vitruta: Oya Tekbulut

Meet Oya, the new member of Good People of vitruta! Below is the conversation with the founder of By Way Of, in which we discover the design vision that took shape in New York, the ongoing social ecosystem in Moda, and the craftsmanship adventure with the masters of the Grand Bazaar.

Oya, welcome! We always start by asking the same question, that's why I don't change the routine: How would you describe yourself to those who don't know you? Who is Oya Tekbulut? How did it start, what did it do, how does it continue?

This is actually a question that I find very difficult, it draws me to existential places. But let me give you an answer as expected: I graduated from Sabancı University, Department of Materials Sciences and Nanotechnology Engineering. After I did my internship as an engineer in an aviation company, I was asked, " Oya, are you continuing here?" they asked. I had to sit and think for a while: It has always been my dream to study design—should I pursue it or leave myself to the security of a “good job”?

After thinking for a while, I did not settle for assurance and pursued my dreams of studying design at Pratt Institute in New York. I completed the three-year Industrial Design master's program. The summer I graduated, when I missed the Pratt workshops, I enrolled in an Introduction to Jewelry Making course in New York. During this period, I started to focus on jewelry design while doing freelance design work.

My mother had a jewelry workshop in the Grand Bazaar; That's why I always had a curiosity and familiarity with it. The first piece of jewelry I designed in my life was the Cloud ring, which I made in that course and which is still one of By Way Of's most preferred product.

When I received very positive reactions to my jewelry from the designers around me, my excitement increased and I decided to start this business. I started working at a collective studio in New York. However, exactly 2 months later, Covid-19 exploded and my life, like most people, stopped. After a long time spent stuck at home in New York, I decided to move back to Turkey; By Way Of actually started when I moved back to Turkey.

Learn more about the story of By Way Of
I would like to hear it in detail.

As I said, when I moved to Turkey, By Way Of
I concentrated; I started going to the Grand Bazaar and the workshop. During the time I had to close down, a lot of ideas accumulated in my head: By Way Of emerged with local production and global aesthetic concerns. One
I worked at the loom myself for about a year and made the jewelry by hand. This process gave me incredible knowledge and experience about production. When I mastered every stage of production and the amount of production increased over time, I handed over this process to the masters.

By Way Of means “through, through”—it is a brand whose foundations are laid on designing, telling stories and producing through. This process also taught me how “emotional objects” jewelry actually is. Peoples; their love, happiness, success,
These are objects that they buy for themselves or others, with many meanings such as "not to be forgotten, to be celebrated, to be admired" in order to document their important moments. There couldn't be a better tool than this for me.

Let's also talk about Moda, where you have a workshop - and also your neighborhood. I know you love it very much; come on give us a little praise your neighborhood!

My home is in Moda and my office is in Yeldeğirmeni; I love both neighborhoods separately. Their calmness feels very good. Being able to walk between home and office is a great luxury for Istanbul.

Production; It continues in our workshop in the Grand Bazaar. We use Yeldeğirmeni as a studio. There is a nice creative community in Yeldeğirmeni, which excites me. For example, in the upcoming collection, there will be necklaces made of beads specially produced for By Way Of by a glass master who is my workshop neighbor from the neighborhood.

I have neighbors and friends in Moda who have chosen entrepreneurship like me and have been successful in different sectors. Meeting casually after a busy workday; drink, beach, walking, talking; It is a great privilege to disperse to homes without getting involved in traffic. On weekends, watch Moda, we leave it to people - mostly young people - who come from every corner of Istanbul and want to take a breather.

And of course there is New York, your second home. I'm asking two questions here: How would you describe your connection with New York? I have another question related to this: How can you maintain a life between Istanbul and New York when there is such a time and distance difference?

I am a person who has wanted to study design all his life and dreamed of becoming a designer. New York has a really important place for me as it introduced me to a profession that I desire so much. In addition to my professional gains, it is a city that has taught me a lot about myself: I can say that it has taught me to be courageous, to seek what I want and to remain curious. New York is, for a designer, “no
In short, a school from which he will never graduate.

When I'm in New York, I spend a lot of time on weekdays. I wake up early and catch the middle of the day in Istanbul or I go to bed very late depending on the work situation, so I can stay in Istanbul. I catch the first work hours and schedule the day. Since I am not in a corporate structure, the time and distance difference becomes a bit irrelevant once you get used to it. I have a different routine and goals in New York.

Now from your By Way Of pop-up store in New York; It would be impossible if we did not mention the name of your valuable teacher, whom you loved very much and inspired you, and his influence on you.

We positioned our one-week pop-up store during Jewelry Week in New York and the process went incredibly well. There really is a special pleasure in creating the physical space of a brand and completing that world. So, “What is the world of the products we make like?” Thinking about the question was definitely a different experience for me.

Sharing this experience with people who know your starting point and even encourage you to be you. It was a completely different pleasure. One of them was my mother, and the other was my thesis professor at Pratt, Alex Shweder. I can talk about Alex like this: he was my teacher who first opened up a space for me as a designer. Actually, I was not a person who excelled in rule-based structures like school (I usually had conflicts with those rules) and sometimes I would challenge them. After being punished for this throughout my life, Alex encouraged my attitude and taught me to turn it into a design language.

What do you like to travel, examine, see, read? It would be great if you could list a few things that might inspire us or be good for you!

Actually, I love studying people. Sometimes some stories what I read and watch inspires me. I keep up with the fields of culture, art and design. But I don't really believe in inspiration in life - let me put it this way: I am far from inspiration in the romantic sense where something is believed to appear before your eyes out of nothing.

I believe that inspiration is found by searching, and that it is the result of complete research and hard work. This process does not need to turn into opening a notebook in the classical sense. I would say my approach is to approach inspiration as a general way of thinking. It can't be found without searching, so I think it's inspiration.

Would you like to honor us by writing the beautiful things that come to your mind when "vitruta" is mentioned? Brand, neighborhood, individual, color, event— whatever comes to mind.

Since my relationship with vitruta begins with individuals, interestingly, what first comes to mind is my personal connections and friendships. Actually, the most important aspect for me is the community. Secondly, I always love to look at its display window and selection when I pass by in Pera” we can say “brand/store” .

Click here for the products Oya Tekbulut used and selected in the shooting.