Saturday, November 19, 2011

This post is likely to get some people angry...Sorry!


Before I begin my rant I guess I should explain somethings to you so you don't misjudge me whilst reading this post.  I am not racist, nor do I care what religion you are.  I do not care if you are black, white, red, green or purple.  I do not care if you are a christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist or jewish.  I judge people based on how they treat me.  I am not biased.  Nor will I be accused of any of the above-mentioned things after you have read this post and are unhappy with what I've written.

Now, moving on to the interesting part of the rant.

I am sick to death of people messaging me and telling me that Oya is Armenian or *shock horror* "Greek." I am also sick to death of people messaging me about the Armenian genocide, or how Turks killed greeks and therefore because Turks had everything, "Oya" is owned by either Armenia or Greece.  Please, save me your political bullshit.  I am not Turkish, nor do I know anything about any genocide.  I never started this blog to be inundated by people of Armenian and Greek heritage telling me "oh my grandmother did this in her village its not Oya its whatever." 

Being that Oya is my craft of choice, I think I'd know a little bit about it.  So I'm here to set some things straight and hopefully, just HOPEFULLY you people who want to claim something that you know nothing about, will leave me be and just read my blog for inspiration and not to throw around such ludicris claims.

Lets face it:  Type in "greek lace" or "armenian lace" into google, and not much comes back.  Most of its crochet anyway.  However if we type in "Oya" then a whole database of pictures and information comes up.  If Oya really was greek or armenian, why is it not as popular there as it is in Turkey?  Why is it every time I see someone put up a picture of an Oya lace doily or whatever, its apparently "armenian" or "greek?"  You'll notice that armenians and greeks don't make oya flowers or scarf edgings because OYA isnt THEIRS to know how to do that, and ontop of that, I didn't know christians wore scarves anyway?

I'd be pretty stupid to rant on like this without some sort of source to quote right?  Ok lets begin.  Moorad Alexanian says on an internet site that the oya knot was first used in Arabia and spread to Turkey and then Armenia and other countries, he then goes on to say: "But reminding Armenians of that is likely to get an angry response, said Kliot, because of ethnic tensions. ``One woman said to me, `You do not put `Turks' and `Armenians' in the same mouth!''  -Please...Armenians and Turks in the same mouth? Are you kidding me? So because of some ethnic tensions, that entitles you to claim something as your own? Good try, but no win.  I'm lebanese, and we've had problems with Turkey in the past too, but that doesn't give me the right to say that oya is now miraculously lebanese just because I'm pissed off with a whole race of people, does it?  I tend not to believe that the oya knot was even created IN arabia, due to this source of information:  "It is natural that Turkish decorative arts before and after Islam have influenced many decorative traditions in many geographical regions especially where there was Turkish rule" (, Onuk 1988)  Mind you this information comes from a PROFESSOR who has studied the history of Oya, so as if we're going to argue with her, right?  Lets look at it from another perspective:  Hummus is the arabic word for chickpeas, everyone knows that its a middle eastern dip.  Greeks and Turks also call it hummus and claim it to be theirs, even though the NAME is ARABIC- so does this make it Middle Eastern, Greek or Turkish?

I had a "LOL" moment in my local library the other day.  I was looking for a popular embroidery book when I came across a book called "mediterrainian knotted lace".  I thought I'd have a look through it and see if it was Oya, since Turkey is in the mediterrainian.  As soon as I read the preface, I laughed and put it over the Automotive section 4 rows away from where it was.  This is what I read from the book:  When asia minor fell to the Turks, Greek "refugees" took their craft to mainland greece and taught it  wherever they settled"  She also goes on to say "She believes therefore that greeks can and should claim ownership of knotted lace, being of greek ancestry (which she isn't by the way, her deceased husband was) I too would like to claim it as being greek."  Now, type bebilla or dandella into google and you hardly find anything about OYA.  This woman has obviously made herself out to be a woman of knowledge and therefore we should all believe the crap shes written.  Does anyone else find what she's written stupid and without reference?  I mean in her actual references shes lists ARMENIAN lace books?  And the other funny thing is that she says that this lace has no names for the stitches, where as in Turkish every stitch has a name.  What she calls bows are called Seytan Bacagi in Turkish.  What she calls a raised stitch is called Tavsan Kullagi in Turkish.  So basically shes written crap down and tried to make herself sound like a historian.  Please.  Greeks don't like Turks, thats why her mother in law told her its greek.

Now come on- Turkish people are well known for handcrafts, and yet other people need to argue over an inanimate object made by a needle and thread!  Plus theres huge differences between the way turks make igne oyasi, and the way that armenians and possibly even greeks make it.  Its fine to do something a different way, but that doesn't mean you get the right to claim it.

Now I would not be going on this rant if some uneducated people didnt message me telling me that its not oya its whatever.  And yes, I put the tag "armenian lace" on my blogs because some people are misinformed and type that in to google.  I know by writing this I have offended some people, but as I said before, I'm not racist and I'm not biased.

Now for a picture of a laughing horse to make everything better.


wendy harbaugh November 20, 2011 at 6:21 AM

Sorry this has happened to yuo I love what I have show about oya lace. I have books on Turkish and Armenian lace and have no issue with them being similar or different to me it is lace and that is what I enjoy making. People who have issues with that need their heads checked. There is no pure race in the world all countries have been over run by another country at some point in history nothing is pure . Any occupied country picks up traits of the those that occupies it also an place that occupies another country also picks up traits of the indigent people. Hope this doesn’t stop you from posting your lovely blog as people need to grow up and relax a ton. I get the same thing on my blog when people find Out I am a Latter Day Saint ( Mormon) oh yeah people are cruel but they can be nice too. I enjoy your work I hope to see more of it becasue coming from where I live in America it is hard to find any info on any needle laces and such you are a priced friend to me and artisan.

wendy harbaugh November 20, 2011 at 6:22 AM

sorry should have said prized friend not priced

AnatolianCollections November 20, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Thanks Wendy, I'm Muslim so I cop slack aswel, we have a Mormon church near us and they're such lovely people, they always say hello and are so polite, I just wish people would judge you based on your character and not on your beliefs. I even left this rant for a while, I was receiving emails back around my post of the armenian lace book, wherein my subject field I put something along the lines of: which is really oya but I guess everyone wants a piece of this. Wendy its like by saying that automotically I've gone and committed craft genocide. I've never had so many emails in one day!

Anyway I hope they piss off lol and thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot!

wendy harbaugh November 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I just reread what I wrote sorry for all the typing errors glad you understood anyway. Have a lovely day

Piwonia67 February 28, 2012 at 6:15 AM

I wonder if we really know how old oya is. It is lace, it is delicate, so it is probably hard to find examples of lace older than 300 years (maybe more in Mediterranean climate?) Historians write about kings, sultans, wars or other important things, but it is unlikely that we find anything about laces in old books. Maybe we will never know. As far as I remember, the Turks have appeared in Anatolia in XI century. Maybe they brought oya with them, or maybe they found it there and developed, and further spread to other lands. Or maybe it had already been spread widely, but they developed it so wonderfully while it was neglected in other nations.

BTW, this book says Armenian women knew how to make oya flowers, and it is not true Christian women do not wear scarves or kerchiefs on their heads; it depends on culture and national costumes:
The fact is they do not wear them in modern societies if it is warm enough outside. Just try not to cover your head when it is -20! ;)

Armenian folk costumes:

I just don't know. I am not taking either side, I live too far away. I think there are many questions and maybe we will never know the answer.

Anyway, I am very happy I have found your blog with all these lovely things you make and all instructions you give. I have already learnt a lot from you, and it is true, I've found lots of wonderful tutorials on Turkish websites as well.

AnatolianCollections February 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Piwonia: There are ample resourses which back my claim that OYA (especially the flowers and scarf edgings) are in fact Turkish, even though the knot wasnt apparently discovered in turkey, rather in some other middle eastern country. As I've said in this post: there is hardly any information on so called "armenian" lace but more on Turkish laces. Theres always been a big rif raf between turkey and armenia and due to the apparent armenian genocide (which is a load of crap) they feel the need to claim ownership to some things. I'm australian born with a lebanese heritage. When i went to lebanon I saw them everywhere. Now they claim that all this arab food is armenian and our dances and whatever else are theirs. I posted this rant because it is without a doubt that OYA is in fact Turkish. Not greek, not armenian, but Turkish.

No one makes oya like Turks. No one uses Nylon thread like the Turks do, or silk. They all use crochet cotton. The knots are different, and all oya differs from different regions. Oya in Konya (where my partner is from) may be completely different from another part of Turkey like Gonen. I mean come on, Turks in general are well known for their creativity and beautiful creations. What are armenians known for? Think about that one.

I actually just had a little bit of a giggle with the link you sent me about the costumes. If you look at the "map" section here you will see that they have put their national dress on parts of Turkey. Armenians seem to think that they own everything?

I'm glad you find my blog full of information and something which helps you in your discovery of my most favourite art form in the world.

Kathryn VanDine March 14, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Love your beautiful handwork.I learned a lot from your site.Thankyou!Pay no attention to the complainers and the I dont have anything better to do than B**ch posts.The horse made everything better.Huggs....Kitty

AnatolianCollections March 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Thanks alot Kathryn! It really makes me happy that my blog is contributing to the knowledge of other people. I thought the horse was hilarious haha, I almost had a bout of incontinence when I was downloading it lol.

Stay safe and thanks for the support!

Sandincairo May 15, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Hello Miss “CCC” :)
Interesting and brave post. I still get surprised how some people are really small minded, actually they make me think about the seabirds/seagulls in the animation Finding Nemo : "Mine Mine Mine ... Miiiiiiiiiine" (

Your creations are really great;Mabrook ! I’ve been looking for articles and tutorials about OYA since a few weeks now and I found this article that might interest you as well : “The Language of Oya By Laurie Gonyea”

Enjoy !

AnatolianCollections May 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Sandincairo- Like the name! Shukran ktir! And yes the video is very reminiscent of the idiots who find the need to try and "claim" everything.

I'm considering making oya patterns that people can buy, since its becoming so popular. You'll know when that happens if you follow the blog.

I have some tutes on here already if you havent already seen them.

Thanks for the comment xx

Sandincairo May 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Yes I was checking them ; as I never tried Oya or totting before its all brand new for me , Im a crochet lover :) So Ill tell u if I succeeded in doing something good isA ;) Shokran & have a nice day !

AnatolianCollections May 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

I dont know how anyone could be bothered TATTING an almost 4 metre edging. My hands hurt too much lol. I find if I make motifs that are tatted, and then join them to either needle or crochet oya, it still looks just as good. All the best for the trials, bil tawfee2 inshallah :)

Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Hey , I am Greek , and I have to say that in my hometown, the only use I have seen for this type of lace is to adorn doilies. Nobody knows how to make flowers, and noone uses colors for their lace. They don't even know how to make free-standing lace, they just put it around a cloth to make a doily. It seems legit that it's not Greek . Just sayin'.

Bludragon October 14, 2013 at 4:29 PM

ok so i have been looking for information on this needle lace for a few months now and Oya is what i find the most about. But now i understand what is going on. The needle lace that i have been looking for information on how to do is actually Armenian or Greek lace. I first got interested when i saw someone linking videos and a pics of doilies done in white cotton thread and they were beautiful. I also noticed that there were some techniques that appeared to be from different areas of the Mediterranean, including Oya. I have pursued poncetta for a bit and now Oya and eventually i will find the information i need to teach myself how to make those divine doilies that sent me down this road to start with. Its too bad that the ancient tribal hatreds have to hang on hundreds (or thousands?) of years later, when the innovation of each culture has added so much overall potential to the art of needle lace. Its too bad the common ground has to become a point of contention instead...

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