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Cowl Neck Top – Clothing Design

My newest cowl neck top in colours of Salt Spring and the Salish Sea in summer.

My favourites.

Mainly cotton.
Based on pattern 8 in the Black Book – Shitate no Hon.

Cowl neck.

This weaving was completed some time ago and I finally made this top, inspired by a different cowl neck top by Lynn (Pattern 7 in Shitate no Hon).

Happy Weaving,

Terri

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Y-shaped vest

The fabric for this vest is quite thick and heavy. The weft is 3-4 strands of wool wound together on a bobbin and I used lots of colour blending.

The warp was 10 thin threads of wool per dent and heddle (yes all put together to be like one thicker thread) and then 2 individual thin grey threads in the next two dents and heddles (more or less) so there are ridges in the warp.

I had this fabric for a while before I decided on it’s final form. I put two panels together sewn at the back and left the front open. Then I sewed the sides, but not at the edges as in the Y vest in the Beginners book. With these seams it makes the vest more form fitting, but loose at the same time if that makes sense.

 

Cozy and warm for a cool day.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design
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Triangle Blouse Variation

When I first looked at this cloth, I thought I would make it into a simple top or vest with the white bands down the front. I cut the cloth in half and pinned it, and didn’t like it after all. Now what?

I browsed through the pattern books to get a new idea and saw the Triangle Blouse and so just turned the pieces on an angle – and I liked it so much better. So, I made the triangle blouse (SAORI Beginners Clothing design book – pattern 4).

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

My cloth was not the dimensions given in the book, but I just worked around that. The front is a little longer, the back a little shorter, but in truth it can be worn either way. Easy to make – just 4 seams – shoulders and sides, but a whole different look with the cloth at an angle.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

I had a bit of cloth still from this warp and I made it into a simple vest with straps.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

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Placemat Vest Variation

I want to share some of the things I’ve made based on some patterns in the SAORI books. I say “based on” as nothing I make follows the pattern exactly. Each cloth, each person and so each piece of clothing is different.

My variation here is using 1 1/2 widths of the cloth I had on hand. I did this so that it would fit without being a short crop top. I put the extra half on the top on the front of the vest and the half width on the bottom at the back (scroll through photos to see). On the neckline, instead of a straight boat neck, I cut the fabric in half again and overlapped it a bit to make a simple open v-neck.

I have no specific measurements for this. It is based on the cloth on hand and on the person.

Easy to make. Colourful. Fun to wear.

I remember being in Hawaii with Kenzo-san as the Beginners book was being considered and his thought of how to encourage people to make their cloth into clothing. And to make it simple. He said “pick your placemats up off the table and sew them together at the shoulders and sides – a Placemat Vest!” So this became the first “pattern” in the book.

Based on SAORI Beginner’s Clothing Design book, pattern 1 with variation

January 2020 – A new decade

Happy New Year!

I’ve just sent out a newsletter with events happening at the studio and in Victoria in 2020.  You can read it here.

It includes information and registration for SAORI weaving workshops and retreats with SAORI Salt Spring.

Honeysuckle Cottage B&B
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Changes coming to the SAORI Salt Spring Studio!

As of November this year, my teaching studio will be moved into Honeysuckle Cottage! This means there will be more space for weaving, a sewing room, a bathroom and full kitchen. We will still be in the woods, with a beautiful deck to enjoy.

Honeysuckle Cottage B&B

Honeysuckle Cottage – soon to be the SAORI Salt Spring Studio space

The current studio space on the property will be converted into a SAORI “store” where you will find an array of warps, yarns, books, equipment and woven items for sale on display. You’ll also be able to try out the “specialty” looms in the store including the WX90 (a 36” SAORI loom), a 4-harness loom and the Piccolo loom.

For those coming on retreat (which of course I will still be hosting) there is a B&B next door to us at Bloom Organic (at the Blue Horse Gallery) with 2 different suites available. The neighbour on the other side is Bird’s Hill Cottage and their B&B will accommodate up to 5 people. Both are a short walk from the studio, so you’ll still be able to wander over to the studio anytime. As with all my retreats the studio will be open early and late (8 am  to 8 pm) for extra weaving time.

Other accommodations in the area include Angel Cottage, Magnolia Petal, Quarrystone Inn, Soul Reflection B&B and many more. You can also find many listings and availability on the accommodations website at www.saltspringaccommodation.ca.

I’m looking forward to this new adventure and to seeing you here on the island!

 

To book a workshop or retreat, please have a look at my calendar here and information on classes and retreats.

(See my entire Autumn 2018 newsletter here).

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Spaces Between – A Healing Journey

“Spaces Between”  is an installation at the Green Raven Clinic on Salt Spring Island.

Reflections:

Warp – I am the warp. I am black and I am strong and I hold all these pieces together. Without the warp she could not weave. I am dark and in the background so that all the colours of the weft can take centre stage. I am straight, usually. This time, she took out the reed and moved me from side to side at will. Usually the reed keeps everything under control and in straight lines – but the reed was nowhere to be seen. At one point she started pulling some of me out! I felt vulnerable, but I held everything together anyway.

Weft – I am the weft. My colour changes by her will and whimsy. I am often blues and greens, the colour of the island, but now I am grey and soft, red and strong, black and dark. Usually I go across and back, across and back. But now, she stops and starts, changing direction, changing colour, leaving holes and spaces. Leaving spaces between.

Black – I am black and dark. Black and strong. A background colour. A bold colour. No colour. I reach into dark places and call things up for exploration. I am the colour of the west and the storm clouds, but they also bring the cleansing rains. You may see me as solid, but look closely, I am only threads woven together, absorbing the light.

Red – Bold. Strong. Startling. Stop. Look at me. Her Aries colour, seldom expressed by her. I think I am not her true colour as she feels jolted by me. I stand out. I draw your eye. I call to you, to women.

Grey – Soft, woollen grey. Gentle lines, moving, bending, blending in. Making you feel relaxed and soft. Warm and cozy. I rest your eyes from the other strong colours. I withdraw into myself. I balance the other colours, leaving a more peaceful feeling.

Wool – I am little bits of wool. I am scattered here and there like little bright spots. Soft spots. I make you smile when you see me. I am texture and unexpected. Playful.

Spaces Between

Waterfall, 2009
Blue Cashmere Jacket, 2018
Spaces Between: Flow, 2018
Spaces Between: Apart & Together, 2018
Spaces Between: Missing, 2018
Spaces Between: Crossroads, 2018

Artist’s Statement

These 4 pieces were woven as I started yet another year with Chronic Health Issues.

“Spaces Between”  was my search for answers. I wasn’t sure when I started weaving what the spaces were about. Were they the spaces, the moments of good health, the good memories? Or were they the spaces of darkness and ill health? Were they breathing spaces? I wove and I wondered.

When I showed one of my pieces to a friend as I was asking this question she said to me “It really doesn’t matter which they are, as when I see the whole cloth together it is beautiful. If the spaces are the good places or the broken places, they all work together to make the whole tapestry of your life”.

Each piece is different and it was clear when it was finished. I unrolled them and they are all of a similar length, a chapter of the story.

As I was finishing the last piece, just near the end, a piece of blue wool called to be put into the weaving. At that time I knew that this was the last piece of the series as I was being called back from this journey and search.

Spaces Between

Then I was at a clinic day at Green Raven and a question came to me “Where am I in all of this?” – it felt like something outside of me. Like I wasn’t present. It was at that time that I realized I had to add to this exhibit some pieces that are me, that reflect who I am.  The two pieces that I chose are blues, of course. One, called “Waterfall” was woven early in my SAORI weaving journey for an exhibit in New York City, before my illness started. The other “Blue Cashmere Jacket” is a piece that I just finished.

saori weaving

I am now weaving with more ease, more breathing room, more spaces to allow things to be how they are.

Happy Weaving,

Terri

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Artist-in-Residence (March 2018)

I had been to Terri’s SAORI studio in the woods on three separate occasions before this trip and I thought this would just be a longer version of those experiences. I didn’t realize that this Artist In Residency was going to be different in so many ways. It turned out to be not only the creative experience I was craving, but also an emotional and spiritual experience as well.

Studio in the woods

I promised myself that I would not have any goals or pre-meditated outcomes and that I would just “go with the flow”. I was committed to just living in the moment, and allowing myself to weave what was inspiring me, which ended up being about weaving the landscape of the island.

Artist in Residence, Salt Spring weaving

Terri and I usually met in the studio in the mornings – and I would ask for guidance with different techniques I was interested in learning as well as feeling more comfortable with Kenzo’s table top warping technique.

Judy Sysak, Kenzo's warping method

Terri is so wonderful at just allowing things to bubble to the surface and she was there to help with whatever I asked. I ended up weaving the landscape of the island, working in colours that I generally am not drawn to in shades of the sky/trees/rocky beaches; greens/blues/steel greys and brown hues.

Salt Spring Landscape

I napped and walked in the afternoon, or I went to town and strolled through the shops and art galleries. In the evenings I wove on a loom Terri had put in my room – that had a a white warp with large gaps in the threading. Some evenings, I would pad over to the studio and weave or I would flip through her pattern books until I was ready for bed. I found myself re-reading the Self Innovation Through Free Weaving (The Purple Book) and specifically the parts about Misao Jo’s journey into SAORI weaving and how she intuitively just let her weaving unfold. It reminded me that SAORI is about weaving to find our true selves and we end up with a unique and personal piece of weaving as a bonus at the end. With the passing of Misao Jo in January – these words felt even more poignant and profound.

Like many women I know, I have struggled with perfectionism and the need to be “striving”. If I’m not working towards a goal, then what is the point? These thoughts still end up being front and centre when I am starting my weaving. I think “what is this going to be?”, “will I ever even wear this colour?”, “what if it’s ugly and I’ve wasted all those materials?”. These thoughts can paralyze my creative spirit. This week was all about accepting that I didn’t need to have any answers to those questions – and that I could just let go and weave what I was feeling without worrying about the end product. This proved to be surprisingly uncomfortable at times, but in the end I was able to find a flow and joy in my weaving and I ended up loving, and feeling connected to the finished cloth.

SAORI Weaving

Another gift of the week was Lynn Jones coming to spend the day with us on Monday. She has been SAORI weaving for almost a decade and she loves the process of sewing her woven pieces into clothing, and helping others “see” their cloth in the light of “what does it want to be”? She brought a suitcase stuffed full of her SAORI woven clothing pieces and I excitedly tried on each one, loving each one even more than the one before. It was so inspirational! We spent the afternoon draping samples of woven cloth I had brought with me in ways I had never thought of or envisioned. Terri & Lynn together are a force! All of a sudden, I just wanted to sew, and for anyone who knows me, I never thought I would ever say those words! I made a short top and two vests while I was there and I love them all. I even wore one to a meeting in downtown Calgary last week which was a huge leap for me! I have a new confidence as well as an exciting and fresh perspective regarding my woven cloth.

copper patina

We closed up my week with a SAORI Kai at Poppet Creative, Terri’s satellite studio in Victoria. I was able to meet all the lovely SAORI weavers that make up this community, and it was such a treat to not only share my work, but to see what other people have been weaving and making with their cloth as well. I loved being a part of such a welcoming group, even if it was just for the day.

clothing design at Poppet Creative, Victoria

In closing, the Artist in Residence experience was about a lot of things. It was about embracing alone time, sipping almond milk chai lattes on the beach,

Fernwood Dock, Salt Spring Island

discovering coconut milk yogurt (so yummy!) and having long uninterrupted naps without laundry, grocery lists or voicemails that needed to be returned. But it also opened up my creative spirit to the question “what if”?. What if I added locks? What if I left a big space on this row? What if I added a completely different colour than I’m currently using? What if I let the edges go loose and create loops?

Lorries Locks

Going into the AIR, I still had so much fear of making a mistake. Then something shifted and I came away with the realization that so many possibilities open up when I just allow myself to ask “what if”? And not just in weaving!

A sincere thank you to Terri, who opens up her studio and her heart to make these retreats possible. I feel so grateful that she and her SAORI teachings have made their way into my life and my heart.

Judy Sysak
Artist in Residence, SAORI Salt Spring
March 3-11, 2018

Fulford Harbour

Misao Jo has inspired an approach to weaving that opens the heart and the mind.
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Remembering Misao Jo

On January 10, 2018, Misao Jo sensei passed away peacefully. She was 104, with her 105th birthday just a few months away.

Misao has inspired so many through the SAORI philosophy and her passion for it. At 57 she embarked on a journey that will carry on through her family and so many others.

I had the great honour to meet her in Japan many times on my trips. I will think of her as I weave and share SAORI and do my best to help others know the joy of this beautiful philosophy.

Love, prayers and blessings to her family. She will be greatly missed.

SAORI weaving is based on a philosophy started in Japan by Misao Jo in 1969.

“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

saori weaving

Kenzo Jo, Misao Jo, Terri in 2014 at SAORI no Mori

 

*First two photos, photo credit Sakaiseikisangyo Co. Ltd

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Artist in Residence (AiR) – Fall 2016

Lynn Jones – reflections on her Artist in Residency at SAORI Salt Spring – Fall 2016
I was delighted to be the Artist in Residence at SAORI Salt Spring for 3 1/2 days this month. The deciding factor for me was ‘weaving on Salt Spring Island without distraction’! I have a very full life at home. Both of my sons are living with me right now, my hubby, Bob and my (getting very old and grumpy) dog, Wilma. Though I have a ‘studio space’, it is shared. With musical instruments and a family computer and lately, some silver smithing / jewelry making tools. I love the busyness of it all, but it does impede the creative process for me. One thing that I took away from my time on SSI is that I’m best really early in the morning. Always knew that, but never really put it to creative use. So, from this time forward and forever more, I will use the time from waking til 9:00 am to be creative, alone, with my cloth and my babe (draping, shaping, cutting and sewing). I can weave with everyone around, but I can’t improvise with my cloth unless I have some peace and quiet. So, I had time to create…2 pieces I’d woven earlier. A jacket in blues with blue jean sleeves and a tunic woven with fabric from some thrift store finds.

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img_0570-e1479166785661-450x600The other amazing experience I had with Terri was the time to collaborate on a weaving. I had ‘scored’ some thrift store silk. 75% off beautiful blue, green, pale yellow, mustard and white silk threads! This was our inspiration.

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Though I had a plan for the weaving, it became something completely other! SAORI philosophy tells us to listen to the cloth, not to plan ahead of time, to weave ourselves. So, the plan I had will materialize on some other visit. What Terri and I created was a kelp bed, unintentionally of course . The whole weaving was shared…every piece that went into it, every idea, all the threads. As Terri so beautifully put it, there were no egos. We threw ideas back and forth. We have so many more ideas to put into our future weavings!

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It was just as much fun weaving as it was photographing the experience. We had to keep reminding each other to take pictures….. And sometimes we just got silly!

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I had time to create in the cottage.

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To cook for Terri and Alan. To sip wine and listen to music. Carole King’s Tapestry was my go to cd. How appropriate!!!
I am so very grateful for the experience of being the AiR. Looking forward to annual WOWWWs (weeks of weaving, wondering and wandering) and whatever else comes from my journey into SAORI weaving and it’s never ending possibilities.

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I read this quote from Misao one morning:
“I am often asked, “What did you do before you started weaving? You must not have been just an ordinary housewife.” Well, when I was twenty five years old, I had a profound experience that opened my eyes. Some would call it a revelation sent by a Supreme Being. Anyway, it turned out to be my work for the rest of my life. In my pursuit of this, I have always been aware that some great, invisible power is within me. Looking back, I see that each small incident I experienced as an ordinary house-wife (mother, sister, banker for me) led me to this path. All the experiences in the past were preparation for what I am now doing. Simply put, everything was leading me to comprehend that kansei (the significance of an intuitive sense of beauty existing inside of us.) is inherent in everyone.”
How appropriate for me to read this while being the AiR.

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I had a great time with Lynn. It was fabulous to collaborate and explore together – so many ideas!
Happy Weaving,
Terri
Next Artist-in-Residence: February 2017 application info tba
My website: www.saorisaltspring.com
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