Handicrafts such as carpets, kilims and calligraphy have remained their popularity and Turkish identity throughout the world until today.

The needle lace, which we think is a neglected piece of our cultural heritage, is important to us for more than one reason. While reflecting our people's feelings, we are very excited to revive these pure silk compositions that are adorned with the facts of today’s life.

The present age gives us the ability to look from a different perspective, while the glimpse of our history shows us the circumstances of the era, the happiness of our women, the sadness, and their challenges in the most naive manner.

That's why "needle lace" plays an important role in our lives ... It is the naive texture of our lives...


Needle lace is a variety of knitting art. “Knitting” is formed by using fine or thick twisted variety of threads that are stitched by the help of needle.

These braiding techniques are named after the techniques that are used to produce them such as; knotted, knotless, framed, unframed; or analogy is used such as rice braid, almond braid etc.

Needle lace has its own unique place among other knitting arts. Although this art looks like lace art at first glance, it differs in many aspects. The lace is two dimensional, forms a certain area and ultimately sewn to another object. On the other hand, needle lace is three dimensional and can be used as an ornament by itself. In that sense needle lace is much closer to artificial flower art.

In general, needle lace making started with the need of embellishment and the main technique is knitting. The “lace” dates back to 16th century and was first seen in Europe.  The name “lace” was first published in the dictionary of French Academy in 1954. We come across some of the weaving design names in the Aegean tales.  The earliest samples consist of fish names in general. In the findings of Mentiz excavations in 1905, it was found that this art dates back to 2000. B.C. In some other records, we learn that the needle-made knitting passed from Anatolia to Greece in the 12th century and then to Europe through Italy.

The fact that the word "Oya" does not have a counterpart in other languages proves that this form of art is unique to Turkish art.

One of the oldest samples of “oya” which survived until today has a history of hundred to hundred-fifty years. In the past, artisans used to use natural fiber silk or cotton yarn whereas today synthetic fiber yarns are more common. Each one of these have a separate name and story. The red pepper shaped needle lace indicates that the bride is not getting along well either with the mother in law or her husband. The medal shaped needle-lace symbolizes the bravery of the husband who returns from the military with heroism and medals. According to ancient Turkish traditions, the new brides were not supposed to talk too much, therefore the “oya”s on the head scarf played an important role to express the feelings or the “untold”. One of the main assets of the dowry was the “oya”.

The poppy flower shaped “oya” symbolizes the “bride”. It indicates that her fragile beauty will fade like a poppy flower once touched.  The head scarves with the carnation “oya” were to given as a gift to the loved family members. As a wish to adorn her with nice scents a head scarf with the carnation shaped “oya” on the edges would accompany the “bride to be”.

The head scarf with the violet “oya” edging was given to the sister in law with the wish for her to get married at the earliest convenience so that she leaves the house as quick as possible.  In another city, it had a totally different meaning. If a wife was suspicious of a husband about a potential “affair”, the wife would start knitting a head scarf with “oya” edging with the “heartsease” shape. It could sometimes take her weeks to months to finish the scarf which would give her enough time to make sure about the possible affair. Once she was rest assured, she would put the head scarf on and visit her mother-in-law. This was a secret “call for help” from the bride to the mother-in-law. The mother in law understands the situation and talks to her son and gives advice.

Each province’s “oya” has a unique character. Sometimes it is the size and sometimes the extraordinary color which creates the uniqueness. There are great many “Anatolian artisans” who carry the flowers from the heart to the threads of the “oya”.

“Zembil oya” is from Kutahya region. As it is quite difficult to make and time consuming, it is given as a gift to the mother-in-law. “Bride’s finger Oya” is generally given as a gift from the mother-in-law to the bride as a symbol of appreciation or to signify how talented the bride is. If the “bride to be” wore a head scarf with the almond flower edging, it would symbolize the approval of the “husband to be”.

“Kütüle” is from Tarsus region which is quite difficult to make. The bride gives it as a gift to the brother-in-law’s wife with the wish to have an easy going relationship. Also, the bride gives a head scarf with the strawberry edging to the sister-in-law with the wish to have a relationship as sweet as the strawberry. Plum flower oya symbolizes a happy marriage.  The bride puts it on during her first visit to her mom in order to ease her and indicate that she was well received in her new house.  If the bride has problems at her new house, she puts on a head scarf with the worm shaped oya. That is a non-verbal call for help.

There is one common “oya” design in almost all provinces which has the red pepper shape. This is definitely a warning to be left alone for a certain period. If you see your wife or your mom walking around with such a head scarf, you should better leave her alone for quite some time.

If the mother-in law is wearing such a head scarf the bride is definitely in trouble. We highly recommend to stay away from the person who is wearing it for a certain period.

It is not possible to tell the beautiful stories of Anatolia in a few pages. Under the title of botanic, we just touched a couple of “flowers”, and yet we have many other stories in our hope chest. There is a lot more to say about "Oya", which dates back to the centuries.

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