textile tradition

Samiro Yunoki’s Shibuya Home-Studio

Last month, Commune had the pleasure of visiting the home-studio of Samiro Yunoki in Tokyo. Born in 1922, Yunoki is still actively producing drawings and textile art. Most of his life has been spent living in this home in Shibuya. He is a master of a traditional Japanese stencil dying technique called katazome, or “dying from a form.” Speaking of his work in Idee Magazine, Yunoki believes that traditional crafts are “not just a decoration. The essence of traditional crafts is the solid motivation of artists backed by genuine skills and materials. So I think we should broaden the definition of art and call all the creation ‘art’ with no distinction between ‘fine art’ and ‘crafts.’”


For almost 1,000 years, the Rabari, also called the Rewari or Desai, are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan. Other Rabari groups also live in Pakistan, especially in the region of the Sindh Desert. The word “Rabari”  translates as “outsiders”, a fair description of their primary occupation and status within Indian society. They have roamed the deserts and plains of what is today western India. It is believed that this indigenous group, with a peculiar Persian physiognomy, migrated from the Iranian plateau more than a millennium ago. 

Traditionally the Rabari followed a highly nomadic way of life, living in tents or under the open skies and raising cattle, camels and goats. As India has changed, so has general tolerance to nomadic groups, who relied in the past on ancestral grazing rights and ancient right-of-ways. Today only a very small percentage of Rabari are truly nomadic, with the majority to be found settled on the outskirts of cities, towns and villages in semi-nomadic lifestyles, following the seasonal rains for periods of time, then returning to their villages.

The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds. The livestock, wool, milk and leather, is their main source of income.


Data Weave

Kickstarter from @notendo to make high quality woven textile garments with digital abstraction based on digital files:

Data Weave continues work I began in 2001 that reimagines contemporary digital culture through textile arts to create a continuum of traditional and modern art forms and technologies. Applying my process of color encoding binary data to textiles expands fiber art traditions and addresses current preservation challenges faced by digital media.

Data Weave is a marriage of art forms to the extent that the Jacquard loom’s use of punch cards to weave intricate motifs inspired the use of punch cards for saving and executing programs in early computing. Data Weave extends traditions of embedding symbols in textiles to communicate information by applying my practice of color coding binaries to weaving. This process of encoding data with color produces intricately detailed, cascading motifs that are meant to be woven pixel to stitch. Each pixel represents bits of data showing how weaving can also be understood as pixel art. Furthermore, Data Weave simultaneously illustrates an alternate way of data preservation and a materialization of digital ephemera by tangibly elucidating data structures with color. 

More Here


Last Saturday I made a new wrap for the students of my recent weaving workshops to see. Big thank you to all of you who made it! This traditional warp making technique is almost lost since it is very time consuming and physically tiring but I am so glad people are willing to know more about it! Special thanks to Koulla for bringing us some delicious pittes tis Satzis!


The Olivetti-Montefiore Torah Curtain (Parokhet), Pesaro, Italy, 1620.

This very early Torah Ark curtain was embroidered in 1620 by Rachel Olivetti of Pesaro, on the occasion of her marriage to her husband, Judah Montefiore. Its focal point is a poem, embroidered between two arched columns, adorned with intricate vegetal and floral ornaments. Two family coats of arms appear below the text: a dove holding an olive branch, representing the Olivetti family, and a lion standing on a mountain, holding a flower, representing the Montefiore family (mount of flowers in Italian). The verse expresses praise for the marriage of the couple:

The gates of the Temple open on the great occasion of the Montefiore family / An olive branch is held by the dove, its beauty seen by all / Light coming out of the Temple will return inwards / Rachel and Yehuda are joining Beit Israel / The lily is held in the lion’s hand, its beauty radiating and shining.


(Pt.2) #チカーノ #Chicano
The #loveAffair between #Japanese youth and #ChicanoCulture ..

First off, WHAT IS #CHICANOstyle?

Our style has evolved as a resistance to the mainstream culture that continually demanded that we #assimilate. 🔹The earliest Chicano style was #Pachuco #ZootSuit style of the 1940s ..there was a great deal of pride taken in our appearence, but not everyone was happy for us. In 1942 War Time Productions Board regulated the amount of fabric used on suits, and the Zoot Suiter was considered #unAmerican and became the target of hate crimes. 🔹 The Chicano style evolved into the #Cholo style of the 70s and 80s and many Chicanos avoided the cholo style because they were not #gangRelated and did not want to be confused for #gangsters.
Today the Chicana Chicano style is more dynamic than what is stereotypical, but it continues to retain a certain level of nostalgia. 🔹 Chicanos wear styles from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s with little regard for what is going on in the mainstream fashion world, there is also a great deal of pride in representing indigenous textiles, traditional dresses, #guayaberas, etc.

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