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SAORI When a "Mistake" Becomes a Philosophy

 

saori no mori11


In the 60s of the twentieth century Misao Jo, when wove a Obi, realized that she made a mistake, she lacked some threads of the warp. But looking at the result, she realized that the result was beautiful. Thus from a mistake a new way of spinning and its philosophy was born.

In this humid and hot summer in Osaka I met two nice and interesting people and learned more about a shade of Japan that few people know.

After a first online summary search I decided to contact Soarinomori in Izumi to know more about the SAORI method, a new way of weaving in Japanese culture (see our introductory video https://youtu.be/YSDALYXoPKA) .

saori no mori2

  


   To welcome me in their establishment and "school" there was Akiko
   Jo. i had exchanged some emails with her before ours meeting.

   She accompanies me upstairs and i can see infront of me a very
   large classroom, ready for the "lesson" and the weaving, about fifty 
   looms, small in shape, very simple in the their structure, different
   from the classic looms that we will expect or that we have sew in  
   same exhibitions or performances in Japan.

   In fact Akiko-san explains to me that these are created specifically
   for the type of weaving of the SAORI and created by themselves on
   the floor lower of the establishment. 

 

 

saori no mori1

 

We sit down and begin to know each other better, explaining what we are doing and why I wanted to know their reality and how it was something outside the classic tourist circuits but that can explain the essence of Japan in the same way, if not better.

 

saori no mori3

As we speak Kenzo Jo comes, son of Misao (founder of saorinomori) and current CEO. His style fully reflects the philosophy behind the Saori, he wears a small garment created directly by him with their looms. Akiko herself wears a made shawl by hand.

He explains how the whole thing has begun, how that mistake has created all this over the years. When Misao realized that her Obi was different and wrong, she found in that imperfection, in that
uniqueness something beautiful, personal and particular. She showed it to some Obi vendors in Osaka but they all responded in the same way. "It's a faulty product" .... "it's wrong it should not be so" .... "we can not sell such a thing".

But Misao does not give up and thanks to her son Kenzo builds a special loom that can be used for this new technique.

 


Thanks to the new loom Misao weaved different garments that often gave to friends and acquaintances, making sure that this new style became known. And she was right, so much so that many wanted to learn more and understand how it was possible, they wanted to learn.

Thus she began to teach the SAORI method to her first 5 students. The main lesson was to weave free from preconceptions or mental schemes, let your creativity come out.

Surprising how students created interesting and totally personal pieces decided that the teaching would cover only the basic techniques for the use of the loom, thus leaving students free to create as they pleased. 

 

saori no mori4

 

Kenzo-san still carries on this philosophy and conviction and reapet to me that "SAORI is a freehand weaving, without rules and restrictions, it is an art form in which we express our true self in weaving. they are champions to follow and there are no errors in weaving.The weavers simply weave what they want with complete freedom and creativity "and what they wear shows it in fact tells me that" we weave for ourselves, we create what we wear and we use it for us, we live it ".

Over the years this method has attracted more and more interest. Kenzo-san tells me that the SAORI method is used in many countries of the world, especially the United States, Australia and England. In these countries there are class where the method is taught in the same way that Misao-san taught it the first time.

With the time, Saorinomo has increasingly developed its own looms, creating them ad hoc for the precise and targeted use of the user and his needs. Kenzo-san explained to me that for example in the United States (the export of looms, fabrics and processing cones is another goal of the company) cause the differences in use and sizes needed modificate the looms with a wider structure that allowed the creation of larger garments. 

 saori no mori5

 

The construction techniques and the materials that are used allow not only a simplicity in the production, but in the assembly and use of the looms itself. In addition to the creation, production and sale of looms, their activity also focuses on yarns, in fact they produce original cones especially designed for the SAORI weaving in many types, materials and colors so that their warehouse has more than 30,000 cones.

 

saomori7

 

Learning SAORI can take time and effort, but there are also courses for tourists or foreigners that don't have the opportunity to take ordinary courses. The choices are many and the opportunity to have a full experience, to immerse yourself directly in the Japanese culture is something that should not be missed, let's take an example:
 

               1 DAY VISITORS:  If you have little time, your travel plans will not   
                                          allow too long stops, you can try the one-day visit
                                          experience. With a small one
and quick explanation on
                                          operation in 2-3 hours
you can create a small unique
                                          product born from 
your creativity.

  INTENSIVE WORKSHOPS:  For a more in-depth understanding of the method
                                          SAORI and guide through various threading processes,
                                          weaving and design of SAORI clothing, in English
                                          On appointment.

 

For visitors outside Osaka, or for tourists, Saorinomori has a small dormitory available for those who want to stop for longer periods to follow the lessons. Very useful for those tourists who would like to know more, that would like to participate in more than one daily section. For more information on courses and their costs I suggest you contact them or take a look at their English site http://www.saorinomori.com/eng/en_class.html.

There are many possibilities to know and learn but keep in mind that a complete course, beyond the lessons that are held (more or less intensive) goes from 1 year to 3 years, in which you can not only learn everything related to this method of weaving, but you can freely create your own products, use the materials and tools made available.

Also on this possibility I suggest you contact them directly to get more information but above all know the costs well.

 

saori11

 

The costs, in addition to the part concerning the registration are variable, this because the cones available, so the type of fabric that can be used can vary according to your pleasure or interest (see image above and below).

The amount of fabrics that are there is incredible and can be used by uniting them to each other, always based on the philosophy that is woven for themselves, and the result is what's inside of you.

 

saori10

 

Last note, but in my opinion the important one. Saorinomori is active in the social, not only with its classes of school children are always full, but the "special" classes, formed by people with disabilities (both physical and mental) participate with full enthusiasm in these initiatives.

Kenzo himself is always amazed at how, for example the children's classes, they have fun, creating always something new. Their creative freedom, learning so quickly is a source of joy and fun.

 For people with disabilities, the Saorinomore has even created looms ad hoc , which can be used by people in wheelchairs for exsample (therefore with greater heights and simple maneuverability) or even by people who can use the loom with only one limb.

Find some of their creations in the factory-school, in a small exhibition area. You will be amazed to see how such complex and refined creations have been created in many cases thanks to these courses, by these people who have different kinds of problems.

 

saomori8

 

For those that don't have the opportunity to travel to Osaka, the Saorinomori also has a branch in Tokyo, more precisely in Ikebukuro, more practical for those who find themselves having a short stay only in the capital.

I leave the link in English so you can take a look at where it is, I suggest to you if you are interested to contact them before your departure, so to be able to organize better and get already with all the information: http://www.saorinomori.com/eng/en_tokyo.html


It was a very constructive visit, I learned something more important about Japan, from two incredible people like Kenzo-san and Akiko-san, whom I thank for their time and kindness. A greeting also to the memory of Misao Jo failed in 2018, until the last went to the factory-school, sat there, watched the students, worked.

 A great woman who has been able to upset a mentality rooted in perfection thanks to her convictions. Remember in what years she lived, imagine the mental "closure" dictated by absolute purity to tradition, not wanting to understand that even a "mistake" can create beauty. Misao-san understood this and taught it to many others. Thanks Misao-san, Thanks Akiko-san and thanks Kenzo-san

 

saomori9

 

For more information, I leave references to the site, the email and their social pages:

English site: http://www.saorinomori.com/eng/index.html   
Japanese site: http://www.saorinomori.com/index.html

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/saorinomori
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/saorinomori2011

email info : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

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