Japan. Although I’ve been there many times it just reveals more of its many layers in small increments, bit by bit. It is so different and yet so familiar too. I spent a week at the Saori head office at Saori no Mori and still learnt more about their approach to weaving cloth. It is so enlightening and encouraging.
A couple of highlights, firstly meeting Terri from Saori Salt Spring after all these years, Laura from Saori Studio LA and Merrilee from Canada. Then a design class with Masako. She is the master designer behind the Saori clothing books and the way she takes your woven cloth and lets it speak about how it should be stitched into a garment is wonderful. It re-enforces the idea that we shouldn’t weave to create this or that particular garment or cloth but to just weave. Leave holes, weave extensions, criss cross and just enjoy the whole process. Keep going with it. Read more
Many pluses for me on this weaving project. Indigo dyed paper yarns, Ikat dyeing and the Railreed working together on the Saori loom. This is a long art piece with monofiliment and other fibres too.
I’ve written about my other experiments previously but I think I like this one the best so far. It’s the paper yarn – so crispy yet bendy. My ikat dyed paper warp really works with the undulations from the railreed. This type of thing could also be done with the Saori comb reed, or an ondule reed.
I really like using the Railreed, it’s very friendly and quick to change track. Now I’m on a mission to finish the piece for exhibition. This piece isn’t only about tools and techniques, though. The structure and the building of the ikat elements work together for a deeper personal meaning and I think this way of working keeps the work fresh and stimulating when I’m weaving it. It makes me feel hopeful! I think that hope is a very important element in life and we need to make more of it. We all need it in some form to live a good life.
The studio is now closed for orders until 13 November. I welcome emails to reserve orders but orders can’t be fulfilled until 13 November.
I think my summer weaving is going to be centred around striping up fabric to weave. I really can’t feel right about throwing out old worn sheets and they either become painting drop sheets or yarn for weaving. With this lot I cram dyed them so I got blended colours that didn’t have that flat one colour look. As I am weaving with two shafts on my Saori loom I felt it needed that to lift it with the textured work. With more complex weaving it is easier to introduce interest in other ways. Although I look to Japanese Sakiori weaving for inspiration especially for clothing, when it comes to fabric for interiors I think the Swedish tradition is deeper.
I tore the strips to 15mm wide because the first weaving will be for cushions and interior textiles. The fabric, although soft through wear, still has some bite to it for a sturdy and heavier fabric. I cut the lengths in the continuous (Mintie wrapper) way that is also used with the Saori Sakiori cutter. That worked well in this situation, although I have been known to splice each end if and when I don’t want a texture bump.
It’s great fun weaving with strips of fabric, relaxing and productive too. As fitted sheets wear out faster than the others we can cut up our bed linen more regularly!
With temperatures of 30 degrees this weekend the early Spring Saori September workshop was hot. And so were the weavers with their work! A delightful, sunny weekend with a group of creative weavers sadly had to come to end. Two days doesn’t seem enough somehow. We only just got started. When it’s all new it can take a little while to settle in and feel your way into what you want to weave and how. Even now when I start a cloth I tend to wander off here and there until I really lock down into the piece.
The light was a bit better for photos this weekend as the winter months, with the sun lower in the sky, weren’t so successful. Colour featured strongly this weekend and I sometimes suspect that the coming weather sparked it off.
Get your translation skills ready by weaving asemic writing. Asemic writing doesn’t have any meaning except for that which invites the ‘reader’ to interpret their own. It’s an excuse to be creative with line and Saori weaving is the perfect free style to work with.
I’ve always been interested in texts – writing, calligraphy, typography. Adding and designing fonts for the computer and largely admiring the skills of people who have designed fonts. We see them everyday and usually don’t look into who designed them and what they were trying to achieve.
Many artists have been inspired by asemic writing and its followers create artworks in many mediums. If you do an image search on asemic writing you will come up with lots of examples and inspiration. The weaving shown here was a heavily textured yarn intermittently threaded into the warp as a supplement, as I was weaving. This means winding a bobbin of the supplement warp yarn then selecting one warp thread in which the thread on the bobbin follows exactly through the heddle eye and the reed and then is woven into the cloth so the new thread can begin its journey. THe bobbin can be used as a weight at the back of the loom with a slip knot or just have it lying on the floor. I have thought about asemic writing alot and wove the piece as a demo in this weekend’s workshop but then found the written illustration which sort of looked the same!
Techniques to do this can be 3 colour clasped weft, woven shibori, block floats, Mt Fuji technique in a smaller area… and on and on. I’m placing this challenge up on Australian Saori Curiousweaver Ravelry group too, for all to join in.
See here a new video on how to weave the clasped weft with three colours. There are a couple of methods of weaving with three colours and this is the one which requires more in the set up of the first row. Another idea for creating liney type shapes in a calligraphic style.
Click the image to see inside!
The latest edition of Down Under Textiles has just been published! My column is ‘Being a beginner’. In Saori weaving I meet alot of these people and in fact, I’m one too in many ways and in many things.
Beginners can be afraid and tentative, but more commonly they are more in a discovery mode when they come to the studio. We can usually fix mistakes or make the most of them, or even let them guide us into something interesting. So there are no worries.
With Saori beginners in mind I have also produced five short videos on how to warp the loom with a pre-wound warp. This is a step by step on how to do it directly on the loom. It is only available to customers who have purchased any Saori loom from me. To gain access please email for the password.
Jan and Sophie – Saori models
Sometimes I’m out and about with my looms and this date was a great weekend full of new and more experienced weavers, working away at the looms. It was the 2nd time or even 4th time for one weaver who worked on a pink woollen warp after several of the black variety. The coloured warps require more thought about colour choice and you have to work with the warp like an undertone to a painting. Jan chose the beautiful Malbringo knitting wool in rusts, orange and pinks. This totally kicked up the pink in a rich way.
There was much meterage woven this weekend as it was a family and friends group. That’s a formula – Relaxation = confidence to have a go, and trusting others to not be critical of your creative intention. This weekend I seemed very upclose to the lives of everyone there. I saw how their hands and minds worked with those threads and learnt about their experiences and hopes which were entwined into the cloth. Super special thank you to Cate and Mark for their generous hospitality, and the weavers, Sophie, Jan, Sara, Debbie and Cathy. Read more
It’s been a warpy sort of week with Sarah in the studio winding, beaming and threading two different warps. We used Kenzo’s tabletop beaming and threading unit with the dividing bar which ticks all of the boxes as far as speed, comfort and elegance in warp making. The warp only requires one cross – the raddle cross. I know that many weavers, including myself at times, consider this a risky business, but it gets it done and into the process without worrying about what is really an unnecessary extra cross. Beaming is done completely off loom at a table then threaded. You can save your unique ‘pre-wound’ warp for later or just thread it up on the unit, then hook it up onto the loom.
Warping is a very satisfying process but the tabletop unit does give that real sense of achievement because it normally goes so smoothly. I tend to have all my own ‘pre-wounds’ hanging around the studio waiting to be woven up. Somedays are just more warpy than others.