It’s April the 27th and the birthday of Misao Jo who for those of you who don’t know is the creator of Saori Weaving. Misao would have been 105 today but sadly on January 10th 2018 Misao passed away.
Today’s blog is not going to be the second part of my Wingham Wool Works Ashford days but I am taking a slight detour to talk about Saori Weaving in honour of Misao-San.
One of life’s mantras we so often hear and often speak is “oh I’m too old to start that” or “I can’t do that at my age” but Misao started a whole philosophy when she started weaving at 57. I too spoke the words of the “too old” mantra when I wanted to weave until I read Misao was 57 and this in itself was magically inspiring. I started weaving when I was 41 and I’m glad I started as Saori Weaving feels like I have come home….
I had knitted before and done crochet usually alongside my best friend and knitting partner in crime Michelle. We have been friends for 15 years now and also along the way we tried various crafts, but knitting was something I did at times but could leave it. Michelle is the knitting queen and has needles everywhere she goes (except yesterday when she finished her weaving she pinched mine) and has multiple projects at any one time. I wanted to be as passionate as Michelle for knitting but just could not find that groove, and knew there was something out there for me but I could not put my finger on it. Eventually I found my groove and it’s the groove of the Weaver and even spinner and Dyer has found its way in. The biggest groove, the loudest music and most graceful dance I have is for Saori Weaving. In my second blog there is a bit of how I found Saori so I won’t repeat it here and continue with what Saori is …..
Weaving is weaving at the end of the day and there are people who like to weave complex structures, people who like to follow a pattern, people who like to do bands of weave, people who like rug weaving, people who do Dobby (computer) weaving and the list goes on… what we have to remember is weaving has been here for a very very long time and it’s the process of making cloth. Saori Weaving is still weaving but it’s not about followed patterns but your own patterns which are in your surroundings and in your mind. You weave what inspires you or weave your emotions. You can weave grief and you can weave happiness in fact you weave yourself.
The reason for this is behind the philosophy of Saori Weaving and why it’s so free and that’s due to Misao weaving an Obi and missing a warp thread. An Obi is the belt worn around a Japanese Kimono and Misao showed a person running a factory her Obi even with missing warp thread and they said “it was no good as it was not perfect”. Misao again inspires us with her answer to this as instead of walking away feeling she was no good she loved the missing warp thread and loved the effect and started then intentionally weaving flaws in cloth.
Saori Mantra number 1 ….
“Consider the differences between a machine and a human being”
Everything around us these days are made in factories all over the world by machines with very little human input. The world is striving for nothing short of perfection but what is perfection? Non of us have a perfect life and perfect family and we love them and ourselves for who we are including our mistakes. Mistakes can be beautiful and mistakes can lead us to new ventures (remember how they discovered antibiotics) and we should embrace these as part of our lives. What’s the point of telling people your a mother of three then trying to brush out the stretch marks on photoshop. Be happy in your skin and be happy with whatever you create as it’s one of a kind and totally unique like we all are.
Number 2 “Be bold and adventurous”
How many times do we do things that keep us in our comfort zones? I did for years and never looked and if I was staying in my comfort zone I would not be flying alone to Japan and would miss the experience of a lifetime. So often we are told we can’t do something or should do things this way usually to appease someone else? We need to be bold, we need to start something, throw ourselves into it, be adventurous. Try new things and with weaving this is what we do… we don’t just weave with one type of thread or with everything lined up uniform but we throw things into it like new colours, new fabrics, new fibre, design, how we beat the cloth, how we throw the shuttle, how we wind bobbins and how we use resources we have around us.
The picture above was a weaving I did using £5 worth of odds and ends I found in a charity shop.
Number 3 …. “look through eyes that shine”
How many times do we do things with no awareness. How many times do we walk the same path only one day to look up and say “oh when did that get put there” ? We go through life switched off and so this way we have started as a society to treat people with disrespect as we don’t see them truly or their potential. When we start to look at the beauty in people, in our spaces, in our community then we see beauty in everything including ourselves. When we weave we should weave everything with eyes that are showing us beauty in everything.
Number 4 … “Inspire one another, and everyone in the group”
Weaving should be a journey for yourself but also should be with others. If you see beauty in things then they will start to see that beauty too and then they will pass this on. If we in life weave something and someone thinks it’s beautiful then be grateful and tell them the story of it. This will then spark something off in themselves and then this spirals outwards.
For more information on Saori Weaving please do go to http://www.saorinomori.com/eng/index.html
Now I have spoken a lot today and still not told you about the wonderful looms Saori make, the way it’s for everyone as I feel today is about the philosophy. Everyone can weave it just depends what kind of weaving or kind of Weaver you want to be.
Saori has enriched my life just by the philosophy alone. Who would have thought that Saori has helped me come to terms with the loss of my sons Alec and Lennon by allowing me to see things differently. Weaving and the philosophy has allowed me to start healing and this is starting to heal people around me. This is why I am off to Japan and I hope one day to be an instructor as I want to inspire more people and keep that spiral flowing outwards.
Today I celebrate the Birthday of Misao as even though I have never met her I feel she is always around with her words and through the weaving. I am celebrating a lady who never walked away from what she wanted and that today has inspired so many people.
So today I want to wish you Misao Jo a Happy Birthday and thank you for Saori.
So now with tears in my eyes I am going to go and sit with these thoughts, be thankful and mindful about my day.
With the most kindest of blessings have a peaceful day LM 🌹