March 11, 2017

Saori Weaving in San Diego

I've been bitten hard by the weaving bug.  Eat, sleep, breath, weave -- this describes my life in its current form.  

Last fall I worked on a Zoom Loom, thinking I could get the urge out of my system.  The 4" squares satisfied me at first, but I had to have more.  In January a Cricket rigid heddle loom took its place.  Together, Cricket and I cranked out ~20 scarves and shawls using yarn I originally purchased for doll hair.  Then I discovered Saori (brand) looms and, at about the same time, my creative buddy Paul mentioned he wanted one too.  I became obsessed with acquiring this loom.

I viewed countless blogs, Saori websites and videos.  I wanted to try this treadle loom to free my hands for only throwing the shuttle.  Repeated searches showed the nearest Saori studio in Los Angeles.

Saori looms seem special for many reasons.  They are compact, can be folded and easily stored (depending upon model), and are beautiful pieces of furniture made of cherry.  A spool winder is part of the loom.  Tying warp threads onto the front beam is unnecessary when using clip/tying rods (there's one for the back as well for less loom waste).  Pre-wound warps are available up to 30 meters  -- that's nearly 100', woah.

Saori weaving is expressive, free-form and non-judgmental.  There are no rules as in traditional weaving and everything goes.  Furthermore, one does not need a Saori-brand loom to produce Saori weaving.  After all, it is a philosophy.  The principles are:

·      Be bold and adventurous
·      Consider the differences between a machine and a human being
·      Look out through eyes that shine
·      Inspire and learn from one another in the group

Locally, I found a weaver who was scheduled to talk about Saori-style weaving at a guild meeting, Suzanne Person.  I wrote to her and she immediately confirmed the upcoming presentation.  More importantly, she wrote about her brand new Wabi Sabi Weaving studio.  She offered an introductory class and I couldn't get there soon enough!

Suzanne has the most adorable studio space.  It's compact and perfectly outfitted with Saori looms, a wall of yarn in glorious colors and inspiring woven pieces.  She holds classes and sells supplies -- everything you'd need to learn to weave Saori-style.

Suzanne was trained in Japan to teach Saori weaving.  She is easy to be with, encouraging, a quick and comfortable friend and excellent at explaining freestyle weaving that anyone can do.  I highly recommend spending time with her.

Wabi Sabi Weaving
2825 Dewey Road
Barracks 14, Studio 213
San Diego, California 92106

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Here are a few things I've worked on.  Materials of choice are natural and synthetic yarn, new shibori silk and vintage Japanese nagajuban kimono strips.  These table runners will be for sale at Talmadge Art Show in May.  See sidebar for details.