Turkish Oya needle lace

Turkish Oya needle lace

I am still a big kid at times. This morning I opened my mail to read an email from Sennur in Istanbul. Sennur’s interests are in crochet and embroidery and she has gone to the trouble of writing her blog nursbasket in English and in Turkish I really admire people who tackle a blog in their second language.

Now this is one of those strange coincidences that happen on line as last week there was a discussion on the CQembellishers group list about Turkish lace. Take a look as I think it is a form of needlelace

This type of lace is used to edge garments and is apparently also known as Oya or Oyalari. The lace features small floral motifs. Needless to say I went scurring around the net trying all sorts of google seaches and came up eith snippits of information. The Encyclopaedia of Turkey makes reference to it and this brief article on Oya Lace has some illustrations at the bottom of the page.

In Ottoman Empire Period Turkish Embroideries the author suggests that it was a form of needlework that made use of silk cocoon husks but I sense it has developed into a form of three dimensional needle work. This brief definition in Art of Oya indicates that the craft is shifting toward fine crochet work. Another term this lace is known by is Bebilla , which may be a knotted form of the lace I am not sure. Any lace makers out there know the answer?

These illustrations of contemporary turned up on an ebay , so it is a form of lace which is still being made. Here another Turkish trader is offering the lace Take a look at the needle lace neck piece you will see that it is three dimensional. Another trader here is offering Oya lace trim that is embellished with 1 inch chili peppers

Of course everyone on the list was asking how it was done or better still seeking to find patterns. As this form of work is three dimensional I think the style is interesting enough to try and figure it out. Firstly I am going to turn in the direction of needle lace. I have written about needle lace before so I will be digging out my books on lace, needle lace, and perhaps even stump work. I am not likely to be able to work out the correct way or a traditional method for working this style of work but as I said it is an interesting point of departure for a contemporary interpretation.

So I guess I have just set my self a challenge. Perhaps it will be suitable for this months contribution to the 6 x 4 lives . Last week I was searching all over the place looking at Lagartera Embroidery what a strange mix the two would make!


  1. In message # 4, Joy Wolff says she ordered “the book” off eBAY – and described her positive experience with it and seller. I wondered what “the book” was. ie Title, Author, etc and where to get a copy (if there are others available). I am interested in learning the edging technique as well.

    Cheryl Cook
  2. Hello Sharon,
    I found your article about Turkish Oya while surfing on google.We run a website about Turkish handicraft,especially traditonal Turkish Oya and what can be done with it.
    You can find “needle lace” as well as jewelry made with it as examples.You might be interested and inform others.We are the biggest OYA supplier in Turkey and export to anywhere in the world.
    Thanks for your interest in our traditional and unique OYA.

  3. I ordered the book off eBay and worried when it could take weeks to get here. It showed up on my doorstep in less than 2 weeks with a special note from the seller with 4 samples of her lace and a good luck charm that I wear daily!!!! Joy

    Joy Wolff
  4. From my surfing, I found information about Banu Turhan who is/was an oya embroiderer and also teaches/taught in Pittsburgh. (The article was from 2003–things change). I have sent her an email at her last known email address to ask if she still teaches and/or sells her work. If I get a response, I will post it to you.

  5. I have noted your request on my blog, Sharon. Darn it, I have just switched the scanner off! I will get those particular pieces out and scan them for you later. I cannot be sure they are exactly what you are looking for, but the description and pictures on your blog made me think of my pieces straight away. Keep an eye on Patra’s Place for the next day or so.

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