For those of us making ODAYA Home happen, it is more than a business. Empowered through textile traditions of inspiring fortitude, we create space in the modern home for luxury artisanal textile that embodies core family and community values.
Odaya in dated Bulgarian language is that living space in a traditional house where the family would spend the quiet hours of the day. It is a room with no open fireplace so chores would be handled elsewhere. In the odaya the family would take a much needed rest – the women from cooking and tending to the house and kids, the men from their work outside of the home. The odaya is that sunlit place where meaningful conversations would take place and a moment of respite and reflection would be enjoyed.
Many of our artisans welcome us in their home’s odaya and it is where the magic of creation happens. We look for those artisans who have the selfless dedication to the craft of textile and those are mostly women, maintaining households and raising children. They wake up early to tend to the family, to water the garden, then that moment of reflection, appreciation, and creation happens in the odaya with the needle in hand, seamlessly interlacing threads of cotton and life.
Artisanal lace is stitched in those early hours when the first sun rays shine through the window and the feeling of completion and promise is at its strongest. It is not only about what the eyes can see. It is the scent of a homemade nourishing breakfast, the tone of the voice that speaks to you, the caring touch that comforts you. Home is the feeling of waking up in a place where you belong and that feeling knows no constraints. Stored in memory, it can travel far and wide to new homes that would grow and replenish it.
The building blocks of ODAYA Home are our families. While we develop and grow, it is our home that provides the nurturing environment that conceives our dreams. It is the family that first resonates with new ideas and provides assurance, a stepping ground for any great leap forward. We recognise the importance of family support in every new beginning and through our work we seek to reinforce the values of integrity, responsibility, and perseverance as a way of giving back.
Families give life to us, communities raise us. And when we start a new life ourselves, it is time to give back. Our ODAYA story interlaces small communities of shared values who have harboured the age-old principles of nurturing growth by example, reaching excellence through perseverance and stamina, attaining dignity through lifelong accomplishment. As a way of giving back, we would happily support our artisans in their initiatives to share their knowledge and skills with persons in their immediate communities.
Our study of heritage design naturally started with libraries. Dusted books in ethnography museums, collections of preserved textiles, online databases in a plethora of European languages lay a solid base of understanding the context of intentionally created, meaningful textile. After this initial research our eyes opened to seeing textile and ornament in every corner of life. Everyone and everything has a story with textile and textile, in turn, has a lot to tell us.
Recorded accounts and visual materials in the books were enough to hint to us that there is even more outside of them. Over the course of almost two years we took numerous field trips to areas near and far, talking with textile artisans, opening up family treasure chests. Many times those precious textile heirlooms, sleeping beauties touched by a magic spell decades earlier, would be hidden in basements, aging as bottles of wine, or neatly tucked in suitcases, tired of time but waiting for their next journey.
We would take pictures of the textiles, while recording the narrative of their keeper. In the few cases when the dentellière who stitched them was the one recalling the story to us, we would converse about her own life path as well. And in the even fewer times when her eyesight would still be strong, and her hands unwavering, we would persuade her to join us on the mission of recreating heritage design for modern homes. Positioning the true value of heritage textile in the contemporary living space and bolstering the voice of those women artisans through their creations is a contribution we aim to make for an accurate and complete collective memory of an ancient craft.