At Saori no Mori

visitors can try Saori weaving, a method where creativity is king.

Forget Your Cares & Allow Your Creativity to Flow at Saori no Mori

The Senshu area has a long, proud history in Japan’s textiles industry, due to the prevalence of cotton cultivation, which gave way to the practice of weaving.  Saori is a unique weaving method that embodies the concept of freedom and self-expression. At Saori no Mori, there is no such thing as failure!

Beauty of Flowing Creatively

<p>One part of Saori no Mori’s practical classroom.</p>

One part of Saori no Mori’s practical classroom.

Founded by the late Misao Jo in 1969, Saori became a movement to oppose the restrictive nature of designing textiles, which typically featured set repetition of patterns, and other rules. The name is derived from two Japanese words, the first syllable, sa, comes from the word sai, which means “individuality,” and ori, which means “weave.”

 

It is based on a philosophy that everyone is born with the ability to create their unique individual styles. Saori weaving is a practice of allowing individuals to connect with their creative self on a deep level and letting that creativity flow freely. The result is uniquely produced textiles that reflect the personalities of the individual weavers.

 

Focus should not be on technique or design, but rather on “the beauty with lack of intention.” Though improper lines or frayed edges would normally be regarded as mistakes, Saori embraces these irregularities as a reflection of beauty and creativeness. Obvious patterns are commonly what people look for when considering good designs, but this is actively discouraged when producing Saori textiles.

Development of Saori

<p>A Saori loom that has evolved over time.</p>

A Saori loom that has evolved over time.

Misao Jo’s mother produced weavings at home, a common practice for women of her generation. Jo found the idea of creating weavings interesting and wanted to create a space dedicated to her mother.

 

After an instance where she was unable to create a formalistic flower arrangement while practicing ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) despite her qualifications in the art form, she came to question the creative process. During World War II, her family evacuated to a remote village, where she explored a different approach to ikebana, which was noticed by a local high school upon her return to her hometown. She was invited to teach ikebana classes and stayed for many years before she contracted tuberculosis.

 

Nearly twenty years after she stopped teaching due to her diagnosis, her mother showed interest in weaving again, and so did Misao, who wanted to produce a new sash (obi) for her kimono. She built herself a loom and wove for the first time. In her first attempt, a single thread was missing, and she was told by local experts that this resulted in a flawed item. However, she felt that the quality was not diminished as a result, and it reflected an individual’s creative potential. She began to experiment with producing textiles that showed gaps or abrupt changes in color, which she felt was a chance to challenge one’s creativity instead of imitating what others have created.

<p>Saori no Mori is an environment where people can weave while appreciating the beauty of nature.</p>

Saori no Mori is an environment where people can weave while appreciating the beauty of nature.

A prominent kimono shop in the heart of Osaka City found this unique approach to be interesting, which gave the Saori movement a boost in popularity. Over the course of more than 50 years, recognition for this movement has increased both domestically and internationally. The first international exposure was in 1989, at the Very Special Arts Festival in Washington D.C. Saori weavers are encouraged to exhibit their works at the in-house gallery of Saori no Mori, and at other events across Japan, and to sell their works to the general public.

 

Misao’s contributions have also been recognized by the Japanese government; first by the Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare, as well as the Prime Minister of Japan.

Experience Saori Weaving

<p>Use your instincts to create whatever your heart desires with a hands-on Saori weaving experience.</p>

Use your instincts to create whatever your heart desires with a hands-on Saori weaving experience.

Saori looms are built in-house to ensure accessibility to all ages and levels of experience. It is considered to be so simple to use that they regularly welcome kindergarten groups to get hands on with the looms to create their own textiles. They are also designed to be highly intuitive so that the process flows smoothly, resulting in each individual only focusing on exploring their creativity.

 

Visitors to the Saori no Mori can experience firsthand in developing a Saori textile piece unique to them.  Sessions starts at 9:30 a.m., and last for however long the visitors wish, though the experience must finish within the same day. Regular visitors typically come and go as they please, as they take regular breaks for lunch and to talk with other people.

 

A range of different colored threads are available to choose from and materials include cotton, wool, and synthetic yarn. Visitors are encouraged to pick as many or as few colors and materials as they please. A staff member helps attach the thread to the loom and gives a brief explanation on how to start the weaving process, and urges new visitors not to plan ahead, but rather to just go with their creative flow. The staff member then leaves each person on their own to start creating. They float around to provide support where necessary.

<p>Every item on display in the gallery is one of a kind.</p>

Every item on display in the gallery is one of a kind.

The experience is priced at ¥1,000, with ¥10 added for every 1g of thread used. A typical finished item (such as a scarf, or other objects) may cost around ¥3,000 in total.

 

The studio is open from 9:30 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. daily. It is closed during the middle of the summer and over the New Year period. Experiences must be reserved in advance. Items in the gallery are also available for purchase and make for great souvenirs.

 

For Senshu tourist information inquiries, please contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

Back to top