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Conference 2014 in GA

Opening speech of the host Denise Prince
Opening speech of the host Denise Prince


Since I was a member of the conference committee and planned this with the host Denise Prince (HanDen Studio) and Sakaiseikisangyo Co. (Kenzo and Akiko Jo), I was a bit nervous before. I don’t have any pictures of the fashion show at the opening night. I was busy doing MC and organizing the show. People seemed understood about SAORI style of fashion show. Audience became models and models went back to seats to be audience. There were many wonderful variety of clothing. It was a great praise for me to receive words from  Kenzo and Masako saying that they saw huge growth compared to the previous conference two years ago. It is true that there were many creative patterns and weaving. Several patterns were no sewing and no cutting.

Hat making workshop at the conference 2014

I lead two workshop on the weekend. One was making a hat without sewing. I was really not sure since I have not made this hat for a long time. So I talked to teachers from Japan and Misuzu agreed to help me for that. I was so glad that she was there to give us tips to adjust each fabric to make shapes.

Misuzu Kurisaka from Okayama, Japan helped me to lead the hat making workshop
Misuzu Kurisaka from Okayama, Japan helped me to lead the hat making workshop



This pattern is very popular in Japan for more than decades. Many people in Japan make this hats to donate to cancer patients who loose hair for the chemo therapy and Misuzu is one of those people. She donates at least 100 hat in a year and she has been doing this for several years by now. She wove fabric for hats and some of her students help to make it to hats by pulling threads, tying knots and braiding.



Everyone who made hats looked so happy. Some wore the hat throughout the rest of the conference!


Sarah and Ann Lynn
Sarah and Ann Lynn




Laura and Judi
Laura and Judi

Another workshop I lead was about the construction of SAORI clothing. Actually until Kathleen Keenan (SAORI SRQ) asked me for the workshop at her studio last January, I didn’t realize that it helped people so much to understand the written pattern in the books. Using receipt paper tape is the way I learned originally in Kyoto SAORI studio. I have been using this way all the time and have shown to my students at my classes. However, I didn’t think this could be a workshop for those who have never sewn or who are not comfortable sewing yet. When I showed paper patterns at SAORI SRQ, ladies mentioned that it would be more helpful if they made the paper patterns with me. That’s how this idea came to me. I had many positive comments from the participants. Again, I didn’t have time to take pictures during this workshop. Hope I will have some later (Hanley was taking some.). Now I have more idea how to make the workshop better. It is my joy to help people understand something. I am open to any feedback, too.

The post conference is Kenzo and Masako’s show. They allowed enough time for the participants to do hands on both on the looms and the sewing machines. That was incredibly well received.

Kenzo and Karen
Kenzo and Karen


I was so grateful to make new friends who have learned SAORI at other studios and occasions. I thought about the first conference in 2006 that my exhusband and I hosted. At that time about a dozen people whom we invited came. The small interests grew and spread out as  SAORI movement and it made me so rewarding.


As an organizer, I have several things we could have done differently. However, I enjoyed the entire week full of excitements and friendship.

Kenzo, (clockwise)Akiko, Masako, Misuzu, Michiko, Toshiko and Mieko
Kenzo, (clockwise)Akiko, Masako, Misuzu, Michiko, Toshiko and Mieko


Intensive workshop in SAORI Weaver SRQ

Studio from the court yard
Studio owner Kathleen
Studio owner Kathleen

SAORI Weaver SRQ is a new studio in Sarasota, FL. It opened last November by Kathleen Keenan who has been a traditional weaver and got trained at my studio. She used to teach at Artist Guild in Falmouth, MA and moved down to FL last year.




All day weaving

She set up 5 intensive workshop and a day with my presentation followed by SAORI kai. It was amazing 6 days. 2 full day weaving with pre-set warp, a cloth making construction workshop followed by a visit Ringling Museum, a full day of cloth making and a dying workshop.


Debora with her weaving full of her own spun Art Yarn





First of all,  because Kathleen and all 7 attendees were wonderful, all the workshop went very well. They were very open minded people who had art/weaving backgrounds and/or teaching experiences. Some of them were fiber artists and most of them knew each other which made this intensive learning possible.

Cheryl at SAORI kai
Betsy at SAORI kai

The clothing workshop was the most challenging day. There were many dramas. Some could not figure out what they would like to make out of the pieces, some realized the initial plan would not work and some got stuck in the middle of creating. It was great to have each other to encourage and suggest new possibilities. Some completed the projects and some didn’t. However, at the end everyone smiled. At least everyone had plans that they knew they could finish it up.

Lorene with her completed projects
Priscilla at SAORI kai
Linda making a vest




I enjoyed a dying workshop because Betsy introduced fascinating dye called Color Hue. I told how to tie-dye SAORI way at first. And we put dye in a clear plastic bag, put yarn without washing (we dyed silk warp) and squeeze the bag to let yarn absorb dye color. Untie the plastic cords and add new color to white parts. I kept experimenting with this dye at home now hoping to share this at my studio soon.

Thank you, Kathleen for your generous hospitality. Of course the sunset at Siesta Bay Beach was one memorable scene on this trip!



MiChiMa Sisters’ Exhibition

I have 2 younger sisters in Japan. We are three girls growing up surrounded by mom’s home cooking and handmade items.  It’s been our dream to have an exhibition together to show our work in public to share our favorite things to do in our busy lives. The very first exhibition had taken place in Yokohama for four days at the end of July. Yokohama is a big city near Tokyo where we grew up and my youngest sister and my mom still live.

Mihoko, Chiho and Maho









My middle sister, Chiho went to a cooking school after she had worked for a business company for five years. Baking became her specialty.  She had worked at a famous bakery for a while. Now she lives in Sapporo, Hokkaido which is the north island of Japan with her husband and three children. She has been involved in early education while she has been baking cakes for a cafe once in a week.  She uses safe ingredients such as wheat, eggs, and sugar from local farm.

Chiho and her baked goods








My youngest sister, Maho has been knitting since she was 9 years old. She had worked at a craft shop for a while. Later in  her life she was interested in traditional Chinese Knotting and got certified in Taiwan. Recently she has been teaching Chinese knotting at a local community center to mothers who have small children and teaches elderly people as well.

Maho and her work
Maho and her work




The name of the exhibition MiChiMa is from first sound of our names. We were used to be called “MiChiMa sisters” by friends’ families so they could remember our names in order.






Chiho and her two daughters, Maho and her daughter and their friends
000Global Univer-City families and Mihoko


We rented a small gallery which was a perfect size for us. Fortunately during these four days many of our old and new friends visited us. Three of us and our mom barely had time to have a bite for lunch in a tiny kitchen taking turns. There were some people I had not met for 30 years!  My dad’s co-workers, our friends from elementary school, middle school, high school, our co-workers, friends from neighbors, daghter’s kindergarten and so on. We were all busy with catching up each other’ s lives, talking about our memories, showing  and explaining our work. Poor Chiho had to bake cakes every nights after supper for next day’s show although she had prepared (frozen) as much as possible.

However, it was a huge success because we had many visitors and sold many work. Unexpectedly many people told us that the show gave them good energy and made them think what they would like to do in their lives. My three nieces had helped us in their way. Our mom must have been so proud of her daughters. What we realized was that her and our dad (passed away more than 20 years ago.) did always let us do whatever we wanted to do. They were always encouraging us. They never forced us do anything and didn’t say what we should do.  That’s why we were allowed to explore what we were interested in all these years. I am so grateful for that. And I hoped this show was not just for us to show our work but also a wonderful opportunity for many people to get together and had a great time.


Oh, I had made a tunic and a vest for my sisters. Those are extra work I did for this show but it was worth it!






Japan tour overall

It was another amazing tour! Everyone got along well and had talked many many different subjects regarding our lives and all through the tour. I am sorry that I was not able to update the post as the tour goes by. I had technical difficulties in Japan. Then I needed some time to recover from the tour and spending time with my family in Japan. Now finally I would like to share some highlights of the tour.

Misao, Rose and Mihoko
Misao, Rose and Mihoko

The highlight number 1 for me was definitely seeing 100 years-old Misao Jo at SAORInomori studio. She looked much smaller than I saw her 2 years ago. She didn’t talk much however I was so touched when she said “Beautiful.” to my SAORI top. And another time she said “Hanayaka (means colorful)” to my bag’s handles. That made me think she was still alert and was looking and observing even though she didn’t speak much. Kenzo was there to hear these her words so it was not my illusion. We had a dinner together at a Sushi restaurant ( a place where plates with sushi were rotating around tables and you can pick them up whenever you saw something you liked.). I saw her managed her chopsticks to feed herself. I was so impressed.



One of the highlights was making new friends. We had met Kumiko from Kurume city in Fukuoka prefecture at SAORInomori guest house. We had shared the house one night and had dye workshop together. It was her first time to come to Osaka and visit SAORInomori. She showed us her wonderful woven clothing and told us her new projects which was involving in her local community with SAORI.  She said she had just started taking English conversation class. She was trying to speak to the tour members in English while Ralph used his audio translation program with his iPad. They had communicated somehow and it was funny to watch them doing it because they often misunderstood and took a long time to untangle the conversation.  Several days later while we were staying at Flora House in Oita, Kumiko had visited us there. She brought many gifts from her city’s specialties which Kurume gasuri (ikat dyed woven materials).

Ralph and Kumiko







Demonstration of Kurumegasuri weaving

Then few days later when we left Flora House heading to Hiroshima we decided to get off the train to visit Kurume city where Kumiko lives. There was a small museum about Kurume gasuri. There were only 2 hours to spend in the city but it was worth doing that. We got a chance to see a lady weaving on the special loom with ikat dyed yarn, got to see a video explaining the history and got time to shop in the gallery! The history was very interesting because it was started by a 12 years-old girl who was a good weaver in 18th century. She had met a n inventor who created a better loom for her later. We learned a lot there about so many stages of the process of this amazing handcraft.








Another highlight was shopping vintage kimono at a local recycling shop in Takasago. They sell  kimono for amazing price like a t-shirt price at good-will in USA. Because it was not specialized kimono shop they sold kimono as an item just like other clothing there. You would not know how much they would have kimono at a moment. We were so lucky to have variety of choices. All we had to think was how much spaces we had in our suit cases.


Recycling Kimono shop








The tour was a big success! I am so grateful for such wonderful members who have enthusiasms and flexibility. However, next time I might do it in a different season though. We had a heat wave and it was awfully hot.

Japan Tour 2013 part2

On the first day we had visited SAORI Tekijyuku Osaka runned by Eiji Jo. The studio had moved recently to a nice building in a residential quieter area. The building was new and designed nicely. It was used as a violon school before. The studio space is the area which was used to be a concert hall so there was a stage they can use for fashion shows and events. We found some paper yarn at the studio, saw many products, took pictures and so on. I have no had my SAORI clothing on since my luggage didn’t arrive with me. 🙁With Tetsuya Jo After lunch we visited Osaka castle. Then visited my SAORI friend Suyo at her studio.

Japan Tour part1

We are having a great time on our tour.




At first we stayed at  the guest house near SAORI no mori studio in Izumi, Osaka prefecture. We went to SAORI no mori studio to learn weaving and Suren dyeing. We are so grateful to see Misao Jo who seemed doing very well for her age and spent time with her. I was so touched when she pointed at my top and said ” It’s pretty.”.

Our tour member Susan, Ralph and Sidne enjoyed their first SAORI lesson there. Rose who is from North Walles tried some new techniques. I studied some techniques I have not done well at home. I felt much better to make it all cleared. They are how to do ripple weaving by yourself, how to create irregular ply yarn and  making shades with 2 color interlocking. I also studied a pattern that usually created by 4 harness . There are always more to learn and discover. Kenzo showed me a new model loom which is 120cm wide. He created from a SAORI 60 inserted a long front and back beams! I don’t need the loom so soon however I am amazed by his continuous challenge and his creativity.








Elementary School Students’ Work

Betty is an art teacher of an elementary school near Boston. She has been our studio member for a while.  A couple of years ago she got a grant to buy a Piccolo loom for her school. She love weaving passionately but one loom can  no do much so she uses paper and wood to make individual frame looms for her students. One day she brought her students’ work to the studio to show us great ideas. She did a lot of preparation and finishing up for them in order to have a good work for the school art show.

This is her sample guy. She put buttons for eyes and a mouth, sew felt pieces for arms and legs, and added a pipe cleaner and beads for hair.

005betty's sample guy











Here are her students’ work. They are so cute.003







She made a wooden block loom like this.


Warp is cotton. While a student weave on a SAORI loom, others can weave their own loom at table.







These are tiny pocketbook. They can be treasure cases. She said they are “amulet bags’, Egyptian treasure cases.








Here is a art work on a cardboard frame loom. First students painted few different sizes cardboard pieces and glue them together. Then some of them set up warp vertical while others set up free form.


Some woven and some didn’t. They added their own creativity to the work.

006 (2)









There are so many way to use woven fabric incorporated into art work. These ideas gives me idea to enjoy weaving in various ways. Hope you can use these ideas for your classes, too!


008 (2)

Workshop at Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH

Yesterday I presented a workshop at Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH. I transported 6 looms included a Piccolo for just in case and materials. Thanks to Bobbie Herron from Freedom Weavers Studio and Carol Allen I got 8 SAORI looms set up in the room. Bobbie also stayed the whole time to assist me to teach. Cheryl with a green hair band who is a tapestry weaving teacher at the Museum coordinated this workshop. Even though she is teaching “traditional ” weaving in her class she loves SAORI ideas and came to Worcester to take my class.

Workshop at Currier

We had a couple of people who has been taking Cheryl’s classes, some people who had woven in traditional way and others who had never woven before. So it was a good mix.


It was a 3 hour workshop. I gave people as much as time I allowed after explaining the philosophy and showing basic techniques to they had enough time to explore and got into it.

And it was so nice to get together with Bobbie who used to take my classes and went to Japan with me in 2005! She had met Misao Jo and she has always been a dedicated SAORI weaver and a teacher since then.



Workshop at Currier, Group



You can tell how it went. We had a few minutes to reflect their experiences at the end. You might see them at my studio in near future.