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Vyshyvanka.js is a cross-stitch embroidery interface for drawing and editing embroidery patterns and an instrumental interface that sonifies embroidery patterns through mouse click interactions. Vyshyvanka is a name for a traditional embroidered Ukrainian shirt with distinctive patterns that vary by region and carry meanings that range from narrative to spiritual and mythological, acting as protective talismans for the wearer. Users of Vyshyvanka.js can use the examples on the site for inspiration and attempt to draw their own patterns in addition to interacting with the sound interface we have created.

Common Patterns/Symbols

The Interface

For the current iteration of the instrumental interface, we chose to focus on the star that combines a few shapes like superimposed crosses, forming eight triangle shapes within a square. The star to us represents an energy field that is both radiant and threatening as a magical ethereal body composed of combustible gas materials. In the interface, this energy is represented by a combination of note patterns sonified through different synths in Tone.js.

We took inspiration from Tom Johnson’s illustrated music in which he signifies different geometrical shapes by calculating repeatable note instances for different triangles, squares and block patterns. In the star shape, the triangles and squares use the repeating patterns centred around D Dorian and C Aeolian modes. These modes are representative of early Ukrainian traditional music. Thus the driving energy of the repeatable patterns with geometrical considerations for repeatability of certain notes within a D Dorian mode through Tone.js synths patterns and sequences is what the user mostly hears when interacting with the star-shaped instrumental interface. The interface is designed with delay, reverb, pitch-shift up and down at each corner of the star diamond. Also, one can change the velocity and volume of the patterns by clicking on four black corners of the star design.


Ukrainian Folk Costumes (alternate link: Archived) (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). Translated by Paszczak-Tracz, Orysia. Toronto — Philadelphia: the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations. Folk Art Committee. LCCN 90-071681.


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