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 The Art of Oya (Bebilla, Oa, or Ougia)
 
by Gulen F. Tangoren, M.D.

Oya needlework probably dates back to 600 BC.  Oya is an art form, a very fine lace.  The name "oya" comes from the Greek word "oa" which means "edging" or "border."  This craft has been valued by Armenians (bebilla), Greeks (oa), and Turks (oya).

Oya is knot work produced with a simple sewing needle and thread, although materials can include wool, horsehair, or very fine wire.  Using this technique, artisans make caps, doilies, bookmarks, edging for scarves, chemises, edging for cloth prayer rugs, headbands, collars, decoration on sheets and pillowcases, and more. 

Turkish girls produced items using this knot work much as Irish women knit their sweaters, passing on information about their status and their ability to their families.  These intricate needlework objects were treasured for wedding chests and the items were handed down from one generation to another. 

Unfortunately, in today's busy society, much of this art is being lost and is being replaced by fine crochet work.