Oya - turkish hand embroidery - Sera Studio
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-906,page-child,parent-pageid-230,theme-bridge,bridge-core-3.0.5,qi-blocks-1.0.6,qodef-gutenberg--no-touch,qode-music-2.1.1,woocommerce-no-js,woo-variation-swatches,wvs-behavior-blur,wvs-theme-bridge,wvs-show-label,wvs-tooltip,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1300,transparent_content,columns-3,qode-product-single-wide-gallery,qode-theme-ver-29.2,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_top,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.10.0,vc_responsive

the Turkish
hand embroidery

in Trabzon, Turkey

a collection of old oya scarves alongside new ones, in our Paris atelier
photo by Andrés Altamirano in the studio for Athens Design Forum

Oya is an antique and traditional oya hand embroidery found all-over Turkey and can be traced few centuries back. There are many different motifs, shapes, and colors of oya; taking the meaning from their makers, usually inspired by elements of nature around them. For many women, oya became a tool of communication, especially at times when they could not express their opinions openly. By creating and wearing these precious embroideries on their scarves, they revealed a different language; expressing emotions and thoughts through their choices in motifs and colors.

The oyas for the scarves and accessories are created in collaboration with embroiderer Kumru Mısırlıoğlu, inspired by old embroidered scarves collected from elder family members.

“It is admired, collected, used, and made,
reflecting the skills of the women who have continued this
three-dimensional embroidery art
for many centuries.”

Words by Frances Ergen, published in the textile journal
Photo by Josephine Powell in Turkey, 1981
Woman smoking a cigarette at the camp area
in Seyituşağı Köyü, Malatya

“I have been making oya ever
since I can remember – maybe since 7 years old.
I saw my grandmother and my mother embroidering
often which is how I discovered it

but I have learned the techniques by practice – on my own.”

words by Kumru Misirlioglu
Photo of her making samples for the collection

“ So as this craft evolved,
the ensuing symbolic language emerged accordingly
—a secret communication between women.


It is a form of expressing one’s emotions,
whether happy, sad, or desperate

through specific combinations of colours and designs.”

Words by Frances Ergen; published in the Textile journal