The Turkish OYA?
OYA are little bundles of textile goodness. Unique and original handicraft developed over centuries by the beautiful women of Turkey. Oya roughly translates to ‘embellishment’ and encompasses a wide range of lace making and handiwork skills; crocheted motifs and three dimensional needle lace flowers unique to each region of the country.
At first I assumed oya were serving their whole purpose by being simply aesthetically pleasing—adorning table linens or women’s traditional Turkish headscarves (yemeni)—but I was quite wrong. The more my curiosity hunted and searched I soon discovered traditional oya handicraft making was a way for women to secretly communicate with one another.
With the oya, women could find a voice without ever saying a single word.
Through color choice and specific designs that are unique to each region, a woman could express her weariness towards her mother-in-law or flaunt her happy satisfaction with her new husband. What clever, sassy and creative women!
All the little oya beauties you might find in my Kisa Collections are original, handmade textiles by Turkish women (many of the skilled artisans I source are not too far from my husband's home village of Didim, Turkey .
Interested in more stories and history behind the oya? Me too. I invite you to dig through my blog here to find more stories of my encounters with the traditional Turkish oya. The exciting part, is I believe I’ve only just scratched the surface...
You can search far and wide in any language on this big round globe of ours and you won’t find another word equivalent to oya. This fiber craft has evolved completely unique to Turkey and its women.
Do you have a story of your own about Turkey, the oya or fiber crafts? How does your own culture speak through craft? Have you found your own voice through your personal art? Collective art?
You really must contact me. I’d love to hear.