Saori Weaving

In the newest issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot which is distributed by the Handweavers Guild of America there is an article called “Try Some Saori Free-Style Weaving” by Marcy Petrini.

I have never quite understood what this type of weaving was. It looked to me like some form of tapestry weaving. But upon reading this article I learned more about the technique and found that there are a wide range of execution for Saori free-style weaving.

Saori is a free-style weaving program that was founded by Misao Jo. The first syllable, “sa” is a derivative of the zen word “SAI” which means that everything has its own individual dignity. “Ori” is Japanese for weaving. Misao developed this process so that “anyone can express oneself freely regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude. In Saori, people can enjoy handweaving as an art form not only as a hand craft.” (This quote is from the Loop of the Loom website).

Typically when I look at weavings, I view them from a technical stand point; the distribution of colors, how are the selvedges, is the design balanced among the cloth? So, until I actually read the article, I didn’t fully understand the creative development  and the “freeing” qualities of this type of weaving.

The type of cloth that I find the most striking in this type of creation is where there is a combination of textures. These weavings just look so rich and alive. Since there is no right or wrong way to create this type of weaving, the cloth often reflects the artistic eye of the individual weaver.

I may at some point try this style of weaving, even if it is to just bust through my extensive yarn stash. If you are interested in this type of weaving there are a few digital resources to look into:

SAORI Global - www.saoriglobal.com
Loop of the Loom - www.loopoftheloom.com
Curious Weaving - curiousweaver.id.au

If you have tried SAORI weaving or you are a practicing SAORI weaver, how has it influenced you? What advice would you give to someone who is interested in SAORI weaving?

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This post has 4 Responses, Keep 'em coming!

  1. Jill says:

    I own Saori Santa Cruz fiber arts studio in the costal redwood mountains of northern Cailfornia. For over thirty years i wove traditionally with a freer than most attitude. Then i read about Saori in 2008, and subsequently kept freeing up my traditional methods. It wasnt till I desired to teach 4 yr old children to weave that i realized that there were not any floor looms or well designed equipment for the very young weaver. I ordered a piccolo an adjustable height Saori folding loom for children through adults from japan. Once i wove and taught on the loom i was so impressed I ordered a folding sx60 loom and suddenly over night my weaving creativity, production, and expression launched.
    Within two months i was seeking training and 6 weeks latter opened my Saori Sabta Cruz studio. Say what you will about the method of letting go and freeing your mind of the regimented rules of traditional weaving (verses intutive weaving expression), but untill you have tried it then you are missing an opportunity to study with one of the best teachers ever, YOUR OWN SELF!
    For decades i would look at how much warp was left on the loom before i could dress the loom with a new warp. All the enthusiasm drained from me. Now i can change out a current in process weaving with a saori inside set with out rethreading and come back to it latter in a mater of minutes. I think weaving saori philosphy on traditional loons is doable BUT i found that once i used saori looms and equipment, i produced yards and yards of fabric more in a few months then my 30+ previous years of weaving combined. My popular artisan clothing can be seen in my etsy shop, and on my blog Centering with Fiber.
    My daughter calls my weaving “Honest” weaving. For me it is the marriage of the love of weaving an self expression.
    Peace through weaving
    Jill nickolene

    • Thank you for your insight! I have not had the opportunity yet to explore the techniques of Saori weaving in my own work but after seeing your beautiful textiles and how you fabricate them into clothing- it has put a thought in my mind to warp up my small loom with a warp to try to teach myself!

      I will have to send you a message when I get my first bit of yardage off from my saori weaving trial. Thank you again for sharing your love of saori weaving with me.

  2. Diana Taylor says:

    I discovered the concept of Saori weaving from an article in HandWoven. Then I was fortunate enough to learn from the wonderful, encouraging, and talented Saori weaver, Terri Bibby of Saori Salt Spring, BC. I made three trips there, and hope to one day visit again. Going there changed my life in many ways.
    Traditional weaving was frustrating for me, because the focus is on technique and consistency. With Saori, it’s about play , imagination,and contemplation. It’s a peaceful process. All the things I love about fiber and yarn; color, texture, drape and feel, are found in Saori weaving. And I like the philosophy of non competition and open sharing that Terri role modeled so well for me.
    I also have a Saori loom, and agree there is no other loom more beautiful or versatile. It’s a beautiful piece of equipment.

    • Thank you for sharing this beautiful comment. The more I get exposed to Saori weaving the more I am interested in trying it. I have seen some gorgeous fabrics that just speak for the individual weaver rather than just supporting a structure and draft. I am so glad that you were able to find your creative voice in this type of weaving and that you find a moment of peace while you are working.

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