Textile, Space

“Our goal is to learn about various cultures and their representational techniques through their carpets. We will use the carpet as a tool to investigate new representational techniques. Students are asked to construct and conceptualize new positions on the design of public space which will foster public diversity and enable individual spontaneity.” - Goli Jalali

The outcomes of this project are a carpet artifact and a series of spatial animations. 

The Magic Carpet Studio prompts the student to choose a carpet that acts as a heterotopia within which the design of spaces both public and private can happen.

My project, NDF-297,  investigates the Rushnyk, a sacred Ukrainian ritual cloth, through the lens of flax to linen production over time. It interprets the traditional meaning of the symbols into space, inspiring a dialogue of the dynamics between women/men, nature/culture, and war/peace.




The program is sited based on the ancient meanings of each symbol, allowing for several re-interpretations of textile manufacturing through time to be juxtaposed in a single space.
Labor and farming are key experiences in the Ukrainian folk identity and have seen a lot of change in the last century due to advancements in technology. The specificities of textile production within these slices in time and its implication on gender dynamics, environmental extraction, and cultural identity will be explored through one carpet. The program serves as a reflection of current labor practices, and critiques the lack of ritual and preciousness in fabrication processes today.


[Andrei Tarkovsky]
Films by Andrei Tarkovsky convey a sense of surrealism through frame composition as well as a juxtaposition of timelines. As a Russian filmmaker of Ukrainian descent, Tarkovsky conveys an identifiable Slavic identity through his imagery, allowing for them to serve as inspiration for this project.

[Ukrainian Vernacular Architecture]
Ukrainian vernacular architecture is used as a basis for the proposed design. Engaging with the carpet as a heterotopia allows the time frame to become malleable. The use of vernacular architecture is a strategy to ground the project geographically and temporally while also allowing for speculation as to the use of these techniques in modern building practices.

[The Colour of Pomegranates]
The Colour of Pomegranates, by Sergeo Parajanov, exists also as a relic, one of 18th century Armenian culture which is able to be juxtaposed against the carpet as an example of cultural exchange both through the USSR and the Ottoman Empire. The movie depicts several stages of textile craft processes which have informed the Rushnyk over time.
Inspiration for the site’s dynamic came from Tarkovsky’s movies, namely “Stalker” and “Mirror,” both of which bend time and space in a nonsensical way that disarms the viewer. “Mirror” puts five different timelines in conversation with each other [Fig. 3], jumping through and revisiting them multiple times through the film, as is the intent with the functionality of the site.


    When They arrived They knew the trees would give them colour. They boiled the bark of oaks, ground up walnut shells, and together They stained the fibre black as night. In the month of June, the short plant with green-white flowers in the sandy soil could be dug up to reveal a small red bug. When boiled in water and dried in the sun it gave the fibre a red that reminded Them of the joy of life and love.

    In the meadows and open woods there grew a plant with golden stalks and purple flowers. They were shown to soak it in still water and peel off the outer layer in order to produce a fibre that resembled the fairest hair. They twisted the fibre together in opposing directions, which made it stronger and able to carry Their baskets.

    The rain came and conveyed to them that the seeds of the plants with the golden stalks and purple flowers could be scattered near their homes. When the clouds gave way to the sun, they saw that the rain had given them large patches of the golden plant. The others cut down the plant while they spun the fibres into smaller and smaller cords. Those nearest each other shared what they had learned with those that came into the world after them. Through the years the people of the land spun a finer cord, laying them in intricate patterns that clothed themselves and their families.

    The People from the North arrived in boats and established their place near the river. The people of the land noticed that the clothing of the People from the North held elaborate patterns with elaborate meanings. They searched for the origins of these meanings, which remained unseen as they watched the People from the North march through the land. In time, They found that the women were creating these patterns in special spaces, away from the others, where they would share weaving and stories. As the lines between the two peoples blurred, the Women of the Land and the Women of the North shared in these spaces.

    As the People from the North left, the People from the South came, traveling along the sea. They sailed with flags of the most brilliant, blood red that the People of the Land had ever seen. The People from the South decorated their cloth with needled thread of this bright red, a colour which had come from a humble green-leafed plant with red roots. Far from those who clothed themselves in the softest of textiles, women worked the fields to cultivate the green-leafed plant. Into large earthen vessels they combined the roots with an intricate series of liquids and powders, making a red dye as vivid and strong as blood.

    The People of the Land created spaces that brought water to them, they soaked their fibres and dyed them near their homes made of oak trees and straw roofs. They continued to sow the seeds of the golden plant near their homes, and wove the cloth with one another. As time went on, these techniques became intertwined within the People of the Land. They were passed down from mother to daughter; the tasks becoming easier with each generation.

    When the People of the West arrived, they brought tools that made everything faster. The People of the Land became less concerned with where the golden plant was cultivated or the path the water took to their homes. As streams were diverted, they stopped dyeing their thread with the bark of oaks and husks of walnuts. The cloth was created farther and farther from home, and it did not take long for the People of the Land to forget how to create it. Nobody knew the plant with the golden stalks and purple flowers.

    The People were no longer of the land, but of machine and oil, of buttons and supervision, of stairs and elevators and high buildings. Curiosity brewed about who made the cloth, They were reminded of a time when the rain told them to sow the seeds of the plant with the golden stalks and purple flowers. So They began to make their homes closer to the land, surrounded once again by people they knew and water they could see. They planted oak and walnut, and harvested the small red bug in the month of June.

    As the fibres of the golden plant sat drying in the sun, They prepared their looms in the room of sharing and storytelling. They dyed their fibres with the root of the humble green-leafed plant using intricate powders and liquids given to them by their neighbors. The tools that made them forget about the land were used to spin a finer thread and create more intricate patterns. These patterns were able to create the scenes of rivers, seas, and mountains that the People of the Land, Pattern, and Dye knew since they had arrived.





Displaying women’s role in agriculture and its relationship to technological advancements.

Intervening in gendered roles in textile production while acknowledging the historical importance and underrepresentation of these spaces.

Investigating building permeability and cultural exchange.

Exploring ethical engagement with technology in production settings.

An essay in the reclamation of urban housing through a nature-based lens.



©  Copyright Danika Oystrek 2024
Living and working on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.