This entry is only a brief introduction to a craft I recently found: Turkish needlework or the art of oya.
It is native to the town of Nallihan (in the province of Ankara), in the way of the ancient Silk Road, and still remains largely unknown out of Turkish borders.
Izmir Ethnography Museum (2014)
Younger generations still wear jewellery or accessories decorated with such motives, but the craft itself –as is often the case- has been on the brink of disappearing, now being taught in community centres, trade schools for girls and universities.
Silk thread by Tony Hisgett, via Wikimedia Commons
Materials used are inexpensive, except perhaps for the silk thread (which does not need to be stiffed), as only straight needle and scissors are required. Nowadays, due to price, cotton and polyester thread are even more common.
Apparently similar to crochet, it is finer than it. Loops and knots are even tinier than in crochet thanks to the use of a straight needle. Square and triangle stitches are the main ones used.
“The slender waist of my beloved
He’d be mad not to embrace it
My bride, you are very happy
That’s clear from the daisy on your head”
Personally, the most charming aspect of this craft is the fact that it holds its own language of motives and colours:
“Anatolian woman expresses herself and conveys her thoughts and feelings. Rather than communication what is in her mind with words, she has found different ways to tell her joy, pain, resentment and hope through handicrafts, and worked up a visual language consisting of messages that are sometimes witty and sometimes biting and sarcastic”
A few examples:
Apple blossom: expresses joy and glad tidings. It is given to close relatives and it is worn by newly-married wives who are expecting to proclaim her good news.
Rose: endless love and happiness.
Cornel cherry: worn by women who are suffering but don’t let it show.
Although most motives are natural (flowers, animals), some of them depict human beings. Soldier needlework is worn by women whose husband or children are in the army. A young wife with a husband in the army would be treated with more care and respect.
Motives are designed to be sewn to something else (be it jewellery, kerchief, tablecloth, etc.) and may be distributed on the base at regular intervals (7-8cm; aprox. 2 – 3 inches) or completely cover the base.
For further information please check
Quotes from the language had been taken from here
Overview of the technique and current state of the craft
Some information about Turkish culture and crafts
The Society For Promoting Turkish Handicrafts