Please refer to information below abour Saori's founder
Miaso Jo and Saorinomori, headquartered in Osaka, Japan.
What is SAORI?
" SAORI is a contemporary hand weaving program founded by a Japanese woman, Misao Jo about 40 years ago, in which everyone can express oneself freely regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude. In SAORI, people can enjoy hand weaving as an art form not only as a hand craft. In the past 40 years, SAORI has been introduced all over Japan, and there are more than 40,000 SAORI weavers in Japan only. SAORI has also been introduced overseas, in more than 40 countries. SAORI is now practiced across Japan, other countries in Asia, Middle East, North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa at nearly one thousand institutions including special education schools, sheltered workshops, high schools, adult education centers, and rehabilitation centers for people with disabilities. Misao Jo has been commended by Japanese government twice for her public contribution made through SAORI hand weaving program. In 1990, she was honored by Minister of Health and Welfare of Japan, and in 1992 again by Prime Minister of Japan.
SAORI is a free-style hand weaving with no rules and restrictions. SAORI is an art form in which we express our true selves in weaving. There are no samples to follow, and there are no mistakes in weaving. Weavers just weave what they want to with a complete freedom and creativity.
To weave fleely is not easy sometimes. We live in a world with many kinds of rules and restrictions. We are unconsciously affected by those rules and restrictions, and it often can be very difficult for us to get rid of our fixed notions and to express our hidden creativity in weaving.
In SAORI, we have four slogans, and one of them is "Consider the differences between machines and people". We try not to weave a cloth which looks like a machine-made cloth, which values regularty of patterns and cleaness of the cloth. In SAORI, we try to do the oposite of the machine-made cloth. No two weavers are alike, and it is very natural that every single cloth freely woven by people with different personalities is beautiful in a different way. The irregular selvage and accidental skip of thread add the unprogrammed beauty to the SAORI cloths; and we admire this irregularity as "the beauty with lack of intentions" created by our natural creativity.
In SAORI, we do not weave only a cloth. We weave our true self.
Thanks to its unique philosophy of freedom and creativity, the SAORI way has been welcomed in more than 40 countries in the past 40 years. There are many facilities, institutions and schools outside Japan, which introduce SAORI Weaving Program as a part of their activities. There are more than 10 official SAORI Weaving studios outside Japan where the specially trained instructors teach SAORI Weaving to the people in their community who are seeking for the opportunities to express themselves in weaving.
Visit our global website in English (http://www.saoriglobal.com) to find more about the philosophy and history of SAORI Weaving. The SAORI Weaving studio directory outside Japan is also available on the global website.
Find a studio in your region, and try and experience the true freedom and creativity in SAORI Weaving. "
~Saorinomori Oskaka, Japan
“SAORI” - Its beginning
"When Misao Jo was 57 years old, she built a loom, and started weaving as a hobby. One day, she wove an “Obi” (a belt for Japanese Kimono), and found a warp thread was missing. But she thought it was making a good effect, and she was very pleased to find that a nice pattern had been formed by an accident. She showed the “Obi” to a person who was running a weaving factory in her neighborhood because she wanted to know how other people would value her weaving. The man told her that her “Obi” was “flawed” and it would be worthless as a commercial product because one warp thread was missing. Misao realized that a commercial factory is only eager to produce a “flawless”cloth, but she would be able to achieve a hand woven quality through intentionally making a “flawed” cloth.
Then she began to weave an “Obi” with many “flaws”. It was easy. She just skipped some blades of the reed when warping her loom. In doing so, she found that the absence of warp threads in irregular intervals and varied thickness could make more interesting effects. She finally finished an “Obi”, and it was highly praised by an owner of an “Obi” shop in "Shinsaibashi Street" (an expensive shopping street in Osaka, Japan).
Misao thought the aesthetic quality that made the “Obi” valuable must have derived from something hidden inside herself. And it must have been possible because she broke away from the conventional ways of thinking. She thought that weaving could be a way of self-expression if she could stay faithful to her true self when she weaves, without imitating "flawless" cloth produced by commercial factories.
She built a new loom with her third son, Kenzo, to put her idea into practice. She wove many items and gave them to her friends who were very grateful for it, and her friends soon became very eager to learn how to weave. Misao named her weaving method “SAORI” and started her career as a weaving teacher."
~Saorinomori Osaka, Japan