Monday, July 30, 2007

Musings After Saori Conference

Considering the Purpose and Power of Weaving

Why do I weave?
After 47 years, why do I continue to weave? What purpose does it serve to me, to my community, to the world?

During my stay in NYC, I met several people who haven't a clue that anybody today still does handweaving or why anybody would. It made me think about about the relevance of weaving (AGAIN). Even people who know and love my weaving, look askance when I proudly show them my latest ikat hand towels (as if to say, why bother). Why would anyone spend the hours to make something to wipe your hands on?

If I am weaving for myself alone, does this make me a dilettante?
If I am weaving as my vocation, does this make me a masochist?
If I am weaving as a means of becoming a famous artist, does this make me a delusional masochist?
If I am weaving as a vehicle for healing, does this make me a patient and wise individual?
a person who understands the cycles of life, the flow of time, soothing the spirit, quieting the turmoil

If I am weaving to make a contribution to my community, I have a long way to go.

I must weave into the future, to weave the unknown, to begin with a blank canvas. To open my heart and mind, pick up the shuttle and begin knowing the spirit will guide my hand.

Anchor the body to let the mind soar.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Saori Arts Exhibition

I don't have the name of this artist (yet), but I couldn't resist showing you. These are so inspiring to me and so different from anything I have ever woven.

I found it impossible to get far enough away to get a good picture of the entire weaving, but the details are so intriguing.

Again, name of artist to follow.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saori Arts Exhibition

Here are some images from the Saori Exhibition held in the Puffin Room in the middle of SoHo. It was a charming space and a delightful exhibition. The Conference was held in the midst of the exhibition. Some people found it distracting, and I guess it was in a way. I have to say I enjoyed having hours to contemplate the display, the loom, the concept.

On Friday at the opening reception, an informal fashion show happened. It was extremely informal. Before I knew it, I was trying on clothes and strutting down the runway. I loved the idea that so many garments fit a wide range of sizes (my kind of clothes). I would have taken pictures except I was too busy discovering my inner model.

A lovely array of scarves and shawls.

I couldn't take my eyes off this huge beautiful hanging! All of my notes from the Conference are in a box somewhere in transit between here and Massachusetts. Please forgive the absence of names. I will fill in names when I have them.

Still, it is fun to look at the pictures.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Five Week Old AJ Loves His Blanket

It's always good to start at the beginning, so here is my mother's sister's granddaughter's son. I don't know exactly what that makes him to me (second cousin once removed?). I needed a baby, and AJ came through for me. Not only did I manage to complete the blanket before I left for Baltimore, but I was also able to deliver it before AJ went off to college:)

If you are looking for a unique baby blanket weaving project, I do have good instructions now.

Although I have returned home and have unpacked my things, I still have stacks of "e" and snail mail left to sort through.

I have downloaded the latest WeaveCast and have listened to half of it. Boy, they get better and better!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Saori Thoughts

I wish I could show you some pictures right now. There are so many wonderful images swirling around in my mind. All the constant input from being in New York adds to my inability to focus and organize my thoughts. But rather than post nothing, I thought I would just write for a while and see if anything worthwhile comes of it.

The Saori Conference was inspiring, the people warm and open. There was much laughter and fun as well as many moments of deep emotion. Did I mention miracles? There were countless tales of the miraculous all woven with just 2 harnesses, 2 treadles and 4 principles.

Imagine a loom you can weave on if you lost the use of your arms! or your legs! or your eyes!
Imagine weaving when you absolutely couldn't make a mistake and the weaving would be guaranteed to be beautiful!

Here are the Four Saori Principles as told to me (and the other attendees) by Mihoko Wakabayashi
1. Ponder the difference of machines and humans.
2. Adventure beyond your imagination.
3. Look out through eyes that shine.
4. Learn from everyone in the group.

I can't seem to find where to create a hot link, but here is her website: for information about Saori looms. to contact Yukako Satone who hosted the New York Conference

I will repeat these along with other Saori Coaching sites when I get back to Seattle and will add them as links. I just can't tell the story of the weekend without pictures, but if you visit some of the websites above you can see some Saori Weaving.

I am pretty tired out after walking around New York all day today in addition to having dinner at the best sushi restaurant ever. I have another day and a half in New York before I head on up to Massachusetts. Tomorrow I will spend the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just in case I haven't had enough input. After that I will attend the new smash hit on Broadway, "Xanadu" (you remember that campy roller disco movie of the 70s starring Olivia Newton John?) Maybe it's better if you don't.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Traveling and Raveling

RAVEL--to become separated into its parts, especially threads

I had a long discussion recently about whether the correct word is ravel or unravel (one "l" or two?) I just checked the dictionary and the definitions and spelling seem to be interchangeable.

Hello from NYC! This is my first venture into the big city since 1966. I can't believe I am here at a friend's computer after seeing Grey Gardens, a fabulous Broadway Show. I am about to venture out on my own for the first time. I have to say I am nervous since I am a congenital non-traveler. I think this is one of the things I love about blogging (especially the Cluster Map), travel without leaving home.

Sadly I don't know how to add pictures from this computer, but words are better than nothing.

As much as I would love to sit here and give you a blow by blow account of my travel adventures, I must get out into the throng.

As for raveling, my mother and I un-knitted 5 more cashmere sweaters in the Baltimore portion of my journey.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hello from Baltimore

After spending days searching for a computer I could use, I finally found one. Of course it has been hot and humid, but I have been having a great time. I got to say hello to the pigs (as well as my aunt) and asked my aunt to write a little something about the pigs:

My Aunt Cis, "I have so often been asked why I chose to collect pigs--and I still don't have an answer. Maybe I just found their long snouts and curly tails amusing. Never having known or seen an real live pig until I was an adult, it seems logical that I would choose to collect something I was familiar with--but it was "pigs" I chose and they have continued to be my favorite collectible. They come in all materials--china, pottery, metal, wood and even fabric---but my favorites are the pink and green pigs that were made in Germany and were given away as prizes at Country Fairs or as souvenirs back in the Victorian Age They are depicted doing all sorts of things, in tea cups, shoes, playing sports or instruments etc. There must have been a few hundred different versions of these little pink pigs and they could be picked up for a song. However, many people must have found them amusing and they are now quite scarce and expensive. My pigs are displayed on open shelves in my powder room and I still find myself entranced whenever I go in that room. I can't resist adding to the collection even though they are spilling into all the other rooms of my condo. They require very little upkeep--just an occasional dusting---but my "pigs" have been a fun collectible since I was a kid and I continue to enjoy them in my "golden years".

Monday, July 2, 2007

Off to the East--Really

I was trying to find the perfect image to symbolize my trip while my ride to the airport is due here in 5 minutes. I will be visiting my favorite Aunt at the very beginning of my trip, and this is her pig collection (actually just part of her pig collection). And since this is the year of the pig, I thought this would do.

After my last trip and a 2 week silence from the blog, I realized I couldn't do that again. What I didn't take into account is the only way to keep the continuity is to have a laptop. I don't have one, but I will attempt to make some entries along the way.

I have so many topics I want to write about, so don't give up on me if the quality and quantity of Weaving Spirit is diminished for the next 25 days. Besides it summer!

My first order of business on this trip is to find the perfect Maryland Crab Cake.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Big Commission--Chapter 6: Blanket Meets Saori

I just couldn't go away leaving this warp sitting on the loom. Since I am going to a Saori Conference, I decided to weave a test panel in what I believe to be the Saori way. After I come back from the Conference, I will have a better idea of exactly what that philosophy is. But this is what I did:
1. Weave what I feel.
2. There are no mistakes.
3. No planning ahead. For me, this meant "no counting" "no measuring"

Who knew I was a compulsive counter!

What started out as a frustrating exercise soon became lots of fun.

So here are 3 of the proposed 7 panels of the blanket. It was challenging to find a place where I could get far enough away from the panels to actually see the whole thing. (60" of the 90"). You can sort of see that the panels are not put together. My sort of plan is to intersperse four 8" panels. I thought it would be interesting to make the 8" panels a weft faced design using the colored recycled cashmere. I will still use the same bamboo for the warp although not ikat dyed. The weft will still be triple strands of unknitted cashmere sweaters. Because the warp will still show, the weft will be muted. The colors are full of nuance. I did much color blending, and the gray warp keeps the colors from jumping out too much.

The panels are folded over a rod, but you can get the idea. You're seeing about 60" of the length.

Not writing anything down or taking any notes is quite a challenging exercise, like working without a net. Ladies and Gentlemen, do not try this at home. It takes a lot of years and countless attempts. It takes a lot of faith. But mostly it takes knowing how to set up very tight parameters. Even though I don't really know what it is going to look like, that is the only variable I have. Showing you every step of the way is my attempt to demonstrate a process of weaving into the future.

I realize just pulling a piece off the loom is weaving into the future--at least it was for me the first 20 years or so. Weaving offers a lifetime of lessons, a lifetime of healing, and a lifetime of creativity.

Saori in New York

I am so excited about attending the upcoming Saori Conference!
A good picture is worth a thousand words. I copied this picture from the Saori New York Website, and couldn't figure out how to make it any bigger. Check out this beautiful website. They have many fabulous pictures.
I will have lots more to say about Saori weaving when I return.
Click here for other Saori links.