Japanese Free-Style Weaving

Saori is a contemporary Japanese weaving style with an underlying philosophy that celebrates individual creativity. Its core principle – that makers should consider and embrace the uniqueness of products made by human beings – is very much in line with THE KINDCRAFT’s philosophy.

Join Vilislava Petrova and Lauren K Lancy on their 2015 visit to the Saori studio in Osaka, Japan.

Saori’s founder Misao Jo was born in Osaka, Japan in 1913 and didn’t begin weaving until her mid-50s. In her first attempts to weave an obi, she missed a warp and created a “flawed” product. Even though she was told that her obi was not commercially viable, she liked the result. This was the beginning of Saori – a name Misao Jo created using the first syllable of “Sai” which, in Zen terminology, refers to how everything has its own individual dignity, and “Ori”, which means weaving.

 All flowers are beautiful, even though each individual flower is different in form and color.  Because of this difference, all are good.  Because everything has the same life, life cannot be measured by a yardstick.  It is this individuality that makes everything meaningful and the uniqueness of each thread that creates the tapestry of life.   

-Misao Jo, Founder of Saori

Today, Saori is practiced all over Japan and in at least 40 other countries around the globe. Because of the free-style nature of Saori, there is nothing technical to remember and it is easy to do without previous weaving experience. The smooth foot-powered Saori loom – designed by Misao Jo’s son, Kenzo, pictured here – and the “anything goes” nature of this weaving style makes it accessible not only to artists and designers, but to children and people with disabilities. Saori is also used by art therapists, in hospitals, at schools, and in meditation sessions around the world. Check this list of Registered Saori Weaving Studios for workshops and products available in your region.