In the articles section of Valley Fiber Life, I ran across some information about oya, a Turkish form of needle lace, which is a form of looping. I love oya. Years ago in a used book store years I bought a copy of In Celebration of the Curious Mind: A Festschrift to Honor Anne Blinks.It contains a wonderful essay on oya by Pat Hickman. As my students stitch, I enjoy reading them passages like this one, where she describes how oya could be used to communicate what is difficult to express in words alone.
Soon after marriage, a new bride was expected to send a gift of a scarf with oya edging to her mother-in-law. If all was going well, she sent one with meadow flowers — happily, evenly spaced between light and dark leaves. If the marriage was not working, a scarf with dark green finger-like projections, called “tombstones,” was sent as the gift…If a wife and her husband were not getting along she would wear a head scarf with small red peppers hanging from it until their argument had passed.
Phases in the work are called root oya, rock oya and main oya.
Oya lace has always had a story or message to communicate – love, sadness, yearning, mourning, joy. Originally made to trim headscarves, bed linen, towels and bridal veils, the designs have been named after flowers (lilies, hyacinths and violets the most popular), nature and legends (such as Mejnun’s nest).
What do you say with your needlework that you would find difficult to express in words alone?