Oya is Turkish Lace

I am up with the crickets and roosters today. The heat woke me up and my brain has kept me awake…

Nice to sit alone in these early hours. The air is cool. Listen to and feel the wind.

Peaceful in knowing my little family is safely asleep upstairs.

And now to finish this post…

Ever since I came to Turkey 4 years ago(has it really been that long?) I have loved my hubby, the food, the sea, then the oya…(something like that anyways).

Going to the weekly pazar(farmer’s market) I would salivate over not just the fresh figs, or whatever else was busting with colors and scents but the pazarcinin yemeni; village women hustling fruits and vegetables have the most gorgeous examples of this ancient handicraft sewn around the borders of their loosely tied headscarves.

I would go to certain women’s stalls to buy their potatoes just so I could have a closer look at what flower was laced into the scarf, what pattern they chose, how many colors were used.

As a natural crafter myself I would fascinate over the amount of time it must take to make these intimate flowers or geometric shapes and the potential in what else could be done with it.

For a long time I would just look…

I would collect too. Traveling to different cities across Turkey; Iznik with its tiles and the first time I saw scarves for sale.

Kaş and the island of Kekova where women would row out on little boats to trying to hawk their wares to the tourists on the bigger boats.

Close to Didim we have the village of Kapı Kiri Köy on Lake Bafa where these women are competing with each other so ferociously that it takes the fun right out of looking. The supply is high and the tourists must come to them so the prices dive way low, but so overwhelming. They stalk you…

In Eskişehir I found a shop that had high quality pieces and appreciated this craft as an art. They had examples of oya in forms other than just the borders of head scarves. Such as the lovely necklace above.

I was happy to have recently come across a book, Osmanlı’dan Günümüze Oyalar, Oya Culture Since the Ottomans by Taciser ONUK, Translation into English by Barbara Blackwell Gülen. (My hubby got it for my birthday:)

The history is amazing. This craft has been preserved, passed down from generations and came to a peak during the ottoman times in the palace atelier and held on, passed down through tradition by village women.

Not only is it beautiful but there is language inside of it. “…when people remain silent, colors, motifs, the environment and “oya” speak.”(from above book),

Also found this gorgeous blog, rumisu by two sisters who have a done a wonderful job modernizing this craft.

Now I have made contact with those women whose figs and oya I revered. (I know sounds like I contacted aliens but for me it felt like that- different language- different culture-you just try living abroad…another post)

Seeing where that step takes me…xo


4 thoughts on “Oya is Turkish Lace

  1. rumisu sisters thank you very much for including us in this very sweet post and sharing our love for this beautiful craft : ) we are honored and thankful : )
    your research and pictures are just perfect and very fun to read : )

  2. You are so talented friend. Your pictures and your words are so beautiful! I love reading about your family and your life. I miss you.

  3. Funny you just wrote this because this week they’re having a festival in Guzelcamli and I was obsessed with the oya necklaces. I’m trying to keep myself from buying too many. Mustafa says to have me show his mom what I will like and she can do it for me. I’m determined to learn how learn this winter.

    • Caroline, Glad you have acquired a love for them too! Do your in-laws know how to make them? I think there is so much potential in the craft! I would like to learn how to make it also!

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