Handmade in Istanbul Haydanhuya: wooden objects by Gökhan Eryaman

Our authors love showcasing local entrepreneurs and authentic spots in the city they call home. Shopping locally and buying from independent creators - whether it's fashion, furniture or food - is a great way to show love to a city, and to our planet. That's why, every once in a while we pick one of those local entrepreneurs and tell their story. This month Feride Yalav, author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul spoke to Gökhan Eryaman, who creates beautiful handmade wooden objects under the name Haydanhuya, about his craft and his city. 

Feride Yalav author of the 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul
Feride Yalav

Feride Yalav is the author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul. She is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Istanbul. A diplomat’s daughter who never settled anywhere for more than a few years, Feride fell in love with Istanbul in 2011 and decided to stay. Ever since then she’s been exploring and writing about her city. After falling in love with a German architect (who is now her husband) she began to split her time between Istanbul and Berlin.

On Lüleci Hendek Street in Istanbul’s Galata neighbourhood, you’ll find the atelier of Gökhan Eryaman who has dedicated his life to maintaining the art of handcrafted wooden objects that are always one of a kind, under the name Haydanhuya. From wooden spoons and brushes to the more unconventional wooden wallet or purse, Eryaman allows raw materials to inspire him, as well as the aspiring craftsmen and women that attend his regular workshops. Feride Yalav talked to him about his craft and his city. 

Istanbul - Haydanhuya oak bag

Oak Bag © Haydanhuya

Hi Gökhan, what do you do?

I actually always want to do different things. Just like others, my mental construct changes over time and this also alters my relationship with life. I don’t see what I do as a job or a career. I like to live out my craft as naturally and innately as drinking water or eating food. That’s why as my relation to life changes, so does the work in my atelier. I organise workshops regularly. I try out new products and some of them I produce and try to sell. At the moment I’m focusing a lot on the sense of touch and I try to center my products and workshops around this particular focus. 

I find it very motivating when someone who lives across the world buys a product I made from a tree, makes it part of their life and then sends me photos after three years saying that they still use it.

Why do you do it?

The answer to this question would definitely have been different last year, but at the moment I would say: because I love to touch wooden surfaces. Trees are already very magnetic in their natural state, beckoning touch. By giving them form and texture, I like to create a tactile line of communication between humans and trees. I find it very motivating when someone, who lives across the world, buys a product I made from a tree, makes it part of their life and then sends me photos after three years saying that they still use it. Apart from that, trying out new things and sharing something about trees with other people in my workshops is also an appealing process.

What’s your favourite thing about Istanbul and what are your favourite places?

The thing I love most about Istanbul is how it’s comprised of so many different lives. When you go to Eminönü or take a walk along the Bostancı seaside you feel like you’re in another land, and what’s so appealing is that you can visit both in one day. Being able to walk for long periods of time, willingly getting lost, and never ceasing to discover are the beautiful things about Istanbul. I suppose my favourite places would be Eminönü, Emirgan, Kadıköy/Moda, and the Bostancı seaside.

Haydanhuya will be included in the 2020 update of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul, which will be available early March 2020.

Istanbul - man walking down the street in Eminönü neighbourhood
Eminönü neighbourhood - © Elif Savari

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul reveals hundreds of good-to-know addresses, secret places and facts. It is an affectionate guide to the city, written by Istanbul-based author Feride Yalav.

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