One of the groups Figen and I work with as IC is a local artist collaborative. Last week during our meeting jewelry designer Birsen Sönmez showed me a new bracelet she designed and I went a little weak in the knees.
First of all I should explain that I have an obsession for a particular kind of Turkish needlework called iğne oyası. It is a done with a straight needle on such a tiny scale that I am awestruck whenever I come across any examples of it. It quite literally stops me in my tracks.
Someone told me that in villages (years ago, but perhaps even still) young girls would not always be allowed to leave the house without supervision. So they had to keep themselves busy at home as much as they longed to venture outside untethered. The oya was their outlet and they would sew their hearts' desires into each pass of the needle.
Some oya evokes sadness, some love, some desire or hope or longing. They are made in the shapes of flowers, fruit and lace-like patterns. They are the work of skilled hands and get passed down from mother to daughter. Dreams from one generation to the next.
So yes, I love oya. But I also love how traditions are revamped to be relevant today. As I mentioned earlier, when I saw these bracelets I couldn't get them off my mind and wanted to share them here.
I like the way Birsen has combined the hard-cut crystal with the softness of the oya. For some reason it really appeals to me. The dragonfly charm is not a typical Turkish motif but I like it here.
If you are any of the women in my family, please forget that you saw this post as you might be getting one of these as a gift sometime in the future.
For the rest of you though, what do you think of these bracelets?
If you've fallen in love with them as I have, they're available here at Nest where 25% of the sale goes to fund women's microloans.