Saori is a freeform style of weaving which began over 40 years ago in Japan when Misao Jo started weaving and, by missing out a warp thread, produced a piece of fabric which was unique.
The missing thread produced a flaw as many people saw it, but Misao Jo saw it as a sign that the fabric was individual and unique and was beautiful because it was obviously hand woven and not made by machinery. So Saori weaving began.
In Zen vocabulary, SAORI is the combination of the words 'SAI', meaning 'everything has its own individual dignity' and ‘MORI’ meaning weaving. The philosophy which has spread across the world is that there are no mistakes in weaving and we should learn to break with conventionality and rules and that nature should serve as our model.
I first discovered Saori weaving when I visited Kim at the Saori Shed in Norfolk. Kim is a registered Saori tutor who herself went to Japan to learn the art. I was inspired so much that Rich bought me a set of lessons for Christmas. We had just decided to move onto a narrowboat to live but this was no barrier as the Saori looms designed by Misao’s son Kenzo fold up and easily fit on our 50ft boat.
As soon as our house was sold we bought the loom and had moved aboard our boat before I could even finish my lessons. Again this was no problem as Saori weaving is about being free and experimenting. Once I knew the basics of how the loom works and how to use the threads it was up to me to play and discover my own style.
I prefer to use natural fibres for my weaving but sometimes I get carried away and need to add some exciting sparkly shiny fibres which tend to be synthetic. Until now many of the yarns I have used have been upcycled, recycled or sourced from charity shops and the only yarns I buy new are natural fibres and sourced locally when possible. The finished scarves are washed in natural soap flakes and no chemicals or detergents are used. Finally the items are wrapped in tissue paper and, lovingly, sent out in plastic free packaging.
If you would like to find out more about the story of Saori weaving or look for a registered tutor or studio, you can find out more here