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Anatolian Needle Lace
“Turkish Oya”

A Unique and Aesthetic Cultural Heritage from Anatolian Women to the World

Oya is a traditional Anatolian needle work, which is usually used to decorate scarves, napkins, clothes, edges of towels or other decorational elements. Various figures including plants, animals, symbols, geometrical shapes, flowers, fruits or vegatables can be used in oya ornaments. This special needling technique, which requires high level of expertise and craftmanship, is a valuable craft made by traditional Anatolian women.

Oya designs can be created by using multiple tools: Small and tiny needle (iğne oyası) , crochet needle (tığ oyası) which is a bigger one, shuttle (mekik oyası) or pin (firkete oyası). Silk, cotton or synthetic yarns as well as sequins or beads can be used while creating the oya designs. Turkish oya lacing is a difficult task which requires hand skills, expertise and patience. Lacing all sides of a mid-sized scarf would take approximately one to two weeks depending on the complexity and patterns of the oya design.

Tiny Needle Lace & Crochet Needle Lace Techniques

Some oya designs have symbolic meanings which reflects feelings and emotions of the person who makes or wears it,  that is why oya is sometimes refered as “The language of Anatolian women”. For instance, a women who wears a yellow gilly flower design oya reflects her sadness and loneliness whereas a pink rose design oya sent from groom’s family to the bride symbolizes that the bride will be hold in high esteem. There is even a specific oya design which symbolizes the anger for the sister-in-law.

Today, oya lacing is commonly used in Anatolia. It is possible to see different oya designs being laced on scarves, baby quilts, home accessories, neckwear and clothing items... Oya-laced items also constitute an important part of a bride’s dower chest in Anatolian tradition. This special handicraft, made by Turkish women, still continues to give soul and add value and beauty to many personal items and gifts...

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