I’ve loved sewing and creating clothes since I was a teen and recently became fascinated by weaving my own textiles. But my hands are quite damaged from scleroderma. So it’s been a great joy to discover Mihoko and Saori weaving. The looms are easy to use, and Mihoko has come up with many creative ways to help me work around my hand’s limitations. The weaving is a wonderful meditation and creative outlet, and Mihoko is a kind and gifted teacher. What a great combination! – E.H.
Mihoko Wakabayashi is the owner of SAORI Worcester who had established the first SAORI studio in US and has been teaching SAORI Weaving since 2000. Her background is an alternative education. She studied the philosophy of one of the oldest model of alternative schools “Summerhill”, visited several alternative schools in US, attended several conferences of National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools. She worked for “Tokyo Shure” which was a pioneer alternative educational institute in Tokyo, Japan. While she was teaching weaving to kids at Tokyo Shure (she taught English and music as well), she encountered a SAORI book. She realized the philosophy of SAORI matched the education she believed in. She had started trying SAORI on her own after her marriage in MI in 1994. She wrote a letter to Misao Jo, the founder of SAORI how much she loved the philosophy and received a response from her with Misao’s hand writing. When she moved to Kyoto, Japan in 1996 with her husband and a son, she immediately started to take SAORI classes. Then she gradually decided to take it seriously since she made a plan with her husband to move back to US in 2000. After her first solo exhibition in Kyoto studio to celebrate her certification of SAORI Leaders’ Committee process, she moved to Worcester, MA and began to promote SAORI in the local area.
Since then she has been teaching hundreds of people both in the studio and off the studio. Her passion for education has made her teaching special. She guides individuals with “not to teach, but develop” way based on SAORI philosophy. Also, she and her husband has been gotten involved in community movements. Building an inclusive community was one of their mission. They worked hard on this both inside and outside of the studio. That’s why “the SAORI Bridges of Elm Park” project in 2010 was born. That was a significant achievement for the business.
She has also been conducting a SAORI Japan tour since 2005 every other year and interweaving Japanese culture and SAORI community beyond nationalities.
After the divorce Mihoko maintains her business solely . Currently she is looking for a long-term commitment intern or work exchange students.
You can see more what is going on the studio at our Facebook page. If you would like to connect other SAORI Weavers online, join Saori Weaving group on Facebook or / and find a suitable group at Raverly. If you would like to be on our mailing list, contact us.
Recently she was on Worcester Magazine.