Berta Hesen-Minten
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  • Horst-Hegelsom
  • Netherlands
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  • Joy McKenzie
  • vivienne McMullen
  • Onna Addis
  • Judy

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Profile Information

What kind of needle lace do you make, and how long have you been making it?
Igna Oyalari
What kind or kinds of needle lace do you want to learn?
Bobbin Lace, crochet lace
Tell us about your other lace related interests.
My Oya (Igna Oyalari) History

While browsing on the internet, I stumbled across Oya and was smitten - I HAD to learn more! I thought I was familiar with every type of lace in existence, all types made with needles, hooks, shuttles and bobbins (I create tatted, knit, crochet and bobbin lace.) I was fascinated to learn that this is a centuries-old,Turkish technique, and knew that I also HAD to learn how to create these myself! I wanted to add this art to my bearmaking. I pictured bears with beautiful Oya collars, bear embellished with Oya flowers in all those beautiful colors. My disappointment was huge as I couldn`t find any pattern or instructions to make Oya lace. How was that possible, there must be a resource somewhere....

After days spending on the internet I found the book “Oya Culture Since The Ottomans” written by Prof. Dr. Taciser ONUK . The book tells about the Oya history, contains examples and even should hold directions for making Oya lace. I ordered the book and was dumbfounded... looking at all those beautiful pictures with flowers and decorations. I enthusiastically began to read and study the technique. All flowers showed little diagrams, with short descriptions, how to work each flower. There was one page with a few drawings, showing how the knot was made. I managed to figure out how the knot was made but I knew I needed more help to learn making 3D Oya flowers.

My search brought me to Serife Dönmez Efe. Serife Dönmez, originally from Turkey, now living in the Netherlands for over 20 years. Serife knows how to make Oya, it was taught to her by her mother and both of her grandmothers, and she is passing on her knowledge to everyone who wants to learn. I (living in the South of the Netherlands) traveled to Amsterdam (North of the Netherlands) several times to take workshops with Serife. After learning the basics of the Oya technique, the drawings and pictures in the book “Oya Culture Since The Ottomans” suddenly made sense to me. I was able to work the flowers according the pictures and/or following my own ideas. Without the teaching and help of Serife Dönmez Efe I might have slowly given up; thank you Serife!!

I am first a bear artist and use Oya Lace now to embellish my bears. I have won the Swiss Teddy Awards 2007 and a TITA 2008 award in its catagory for the bears embellished with Oya Lace, (these bears are shown on the cover picture of this guide). Winning world wide awards for these bears has brought attention to and interest in the lost art “Oya” that my bears are embellished with.

I have received numerous requests for workshops and/or teaching materials from other Artists. Serife was shown and taught Oya by her mother. She had no written instructions, no patterns.. In those days specific designs had a name, so it was easier to pass on which design was meant. Some examples of designs are “Petercely” and “Rice”, meant for little additions along the edges. There are many names for flowers like “Fuchsia”, “Tulip” and “Daisy”. Other names were “Rowing Boat”, “Wheel of Faith” and “Knot of the Government”. This way it was easy to pass on a “pattern” by simple giving the name of the design.

I would love to do the same, teaching the methods as Serife taught me. There is no easier way to learn than to watch and work alongside an experienced teacher!
But knowing it was impossible to teach everyone in person around the world, I had to think of another way, which should be as effective as teaching by your side.

The result was ThReAdTeDs® Oya Guide for Oya Needle Lace (Published and introduced 2008© in USA, in combination with a workshop I teached in California), a step-by-step guide, with drawings, many photographs and instructions for Oya Lace, as though learning from a teacher in person. ( My goal was while writing the guide, with studying the pictures and reading my instructions, you too will learn and have fun with this almost-lost, Fiber Art: Oya Lace!!
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Comment Wall (3 comments)

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At 4:04pm on April 5, 2011, jessica said…

hi! i'm so glad to see that you're a member here now!! i am familiar with your guide on oya, and hope to some day be able to buy it! <3


but for now, i will be happy to read your comments and opinions on the groups!!

jessica S.

At 8:06am on April 4, 2011, vivienne McMullen said… email is
Thank you
At 2:29pm on March 21, 2011, Lorelei Halley said…


Welcome.  Please go to NOTES and read them all.  They cover our policies and the software.  We do have a group for oya, which you may wish to join.  I would love to see closeups of your oya decorations.


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