Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back at it. and wondering about veils and lace

Mysteries are fun.  I decided to do an edged veil after seeing Christa Gordon's inspiration image for her black veil and becoming intrigued.  Its got an obviously scalloped edge and tassels but that's about all the information there.  I pestered my friend Seraphina about veils and she didn't have a lot of extra to add.

It's sort of the same place I came to when investigating Anatolian veils and oya lace or "igne oyasi" last year.  Also called Turkish Lace, its colorful flowers of needlelace.  Which flowers and how and when they are worn became a symbolic language.  I ended up ordering Oya Culture since the Ottomans, but it has no real information on the history of oya.  The instructions and patterns for making oya aren't that helpful, and none of the patterns predate the 1960's.  Having something shipped from Turkey was sort of novel though.  It and several other publications have been put out by the government in an attempt to preserve folk culture and craft.  It doesn't answer the question of whether oya is old enough to be in SCA period though.  All I can find are vague references to "ancient," "centuries old," and the cringe inducing "traditional." 

Since Venice adopted things like under drawers for women from the Turks I sort of wonder about the two cultures and veil edging.  Particularly in light of the tassels at the edges of the veil.  It could be absolutely nothing, but it could be something.  I love a good research mystery.  We take for granted embroidered, beaded, and lace edgings as integral parts of veils now.  I'm curious how early that sort of thing happened.  Russian veils are highly decorated with fringes, embroidery, gold and pearls.  There's a beautiful extant veil belonging to Ivan the Terrible's  first wife Anastasia Romanova.  Its 16th century, so pretty late, but its there and there's evidence it started much earlier.   

My fantasy edging is going to start me on another big digging expedition, I can already tell.  Anyone already done some of the work?  What do you know about veil edgings and decorations?


  1. My Mom lived in Turkey for about a decade ('87-ish on) and sent me some oya which she purchased at a bazar. Mine are beatiful 3-dimensional multicolored flowers and (as I remember) are mostly done in buttonhole stich just like other forms of embroidery/lacemaking which we know to be period. I've also seen simple shapes like diamonds, and beaded oya.

    The ones Mom sent seem to have been worked (or possibly just assembled) on a plain thick thread so they could be pulled or cut off of it and stiched onto a final piece at home.

    I've been thinking that there could be a style of oya in my stash which would be good with my outfit so I've been planning to dig them out. Shall I post pictures?