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.
- Circular patterns embody divine perfection, also symbolising the sun
- Square symbolises perfection/harmony/order/earth - divided into equal portions fields 4 corners of the square - natural events occurring in fours, such as change of seasons, etc
- Triangle: narrow gate that leads to eternal life, also associated with fire Triangles whose tips touching each other - world and anti-world - transition from one world onto the other
- Spirals (vertically arranged parallel zigzags) - wavy lines - the fluidity of life - represents water
- Chevrons - open triangles - pointing down: female symbol - pointing upward: male
- Cross - symbolises centricity/not separation of forces/two crosses forms an eight-pointed star (a union of male and female)
- Star a cross superimposed with an oblique cross (male and female) joined together an 8 cornered star (octahedron) - an energy field formed around living beings
- Winding Dance Lines - a symbol of vitality, harmonious flow of life
- Lozenges (two triangles also rhombus) - fertility, female/male relations Lozenges with hooks - heavenly moisture that gives life
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.
ResourcesUkrainian 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.
Euromaidan Press: Secret ancestral codes: 12 main symbols in Ukrainian embroidery
Fashion For Fashionlovers: DESIGNERS TO WATCH: Vyshyvankas by Vita Kin – Traditional Ukrainian Chic
Harper's Bazaar: We're Obsessed: Vita Kin Introduces The Perfect Bohemia