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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

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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
Or you can find me more often on Facebook or Instagram.

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Artist-in-Residence – Spring 2016

Earlier this month I was so happy to host Stacey Piwinski as the Artist-in-Residence at SAORI Salt Spring. When we were setting up the residency, Stacey requested that we go to Pacifica Paddle at the beginning rather than at the end of the residency. She wanted to meet others in this SAORI community and see how that may influence her work during the week at the studio. “We learn from each other”

pacifica-loooms

So, we set up weekend workshops and a SAORI Kai. I had a lot of feedback from people after about how much they were inspired by her presentation of her work and her process. One piece that she shared with us was something she had worked on over the period of two years. She wove a piece each month that reflected her life over that month. The following year in the same month she did more work on that same piece.

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We shared with her some of our weavings and clothing design, wall hangings and pieces of cloth. It was all a wonderful start to the residency.

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As Stacey was here, she wrote a blog post for every day – documenting the weaving, meetings with people, conversations, places we visited on the island. If you haven’t already seen them, these posts are well worth a read. Lots of photos too!

Day 1 – Pacifica Paddle – “Weaving, Water & Butterflies
Day 2 – SAORI Kai – “SAORI Sunday” – Part 1 & Part 2
Day 3 – SAORI Salt Spring – “Tall Trees and Green Moss
Day 4 – SAORI Salt Spring – “Delightful
Day 5 – SAORI Salt Spring – “Wednesday Already
Day 6 – SAORI Salt Spring – “Kan Ryoku is Sprouting Up
Day 7 – SAORI Salt Spring – “West Coast Dream Squid
Day 8 – Victoria – “Headed Home

Stacey worked on different pieces while she was here including one she called “Little Terri” – this piece incorporated a collection of items that I had given her at the beginning of the week. It was jewelry of mine, collected over years, that I didn’t wear anymore.

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…a mobius (note that there is no fringe!)

mobius

… and a squid vest

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squid vest

She brought me one of her works – that incorporates painting and weaving and it now hangs next to my SAORI Calendar in the studio.

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We enjoyed the days, the visitors to the studio and the island…the days went by way too quickly!

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Until next time…

Mt. Maxwell

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com, see some updates on my Gallery page here.

Or you can find me more often on Facebook or Instagram.

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A weekend at Pacifica and an upcoming SAORI Kai

For a year now, I’ve been teaching workshops at the beautiful Pacifica Paddle location in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island. It is so wonderful to have my looms and supplies there at a ‘satellite studio’ and just come over on the ferry to share SAORI weaving.

pacifica-looms

Here is a sampling from this weekend.

We arrived on Saturday morning and the weather was a bit misty…

misty morning

One of the first weavings was in all whites. Stunning!

White weaving

Then more colour, a lot more colour, crept into the next one.

weaving

Some rugs were woven with local wool and alpaca roving. This one for a lucky kitty!

handwoven cat mat

The following day we had a full workshop including members of the Victoria Weaver’s Guild – they were interested in seeing what SAORI was all about and trying the looms out, learning about the philosophy and letting go…

We tried some ripple weave,

ripple weave

feather plying,

feather plying

And lots of colour and texture.

saori weaving

Marilee was learning to make warps with Kenzo’s new warping tools. It’s kind of like making your own pre-wound warp. Quick and easy to do – and it can all be beamed and threaded right at the table. Or you can use the loom.

blue warp

A wonderful weekend again.

weekend weaving

Thanks to Peter & Sandra for making these workshops possible at their workshop location. And to all who come out. You can always go out for a paddle while you are there – or bring a partner or friend who would like to get out on the water.

You can also enjoy a paddle

Next month there is a workshop on Saturday, March 12 from 10-3 and then a mini-workshop on Sunday, March 13 from 10-12. We will be joined by a special guest – Stacey Piwinski from Boston – who will be the Artist-in-Residence at SAORI Salt Spring that week! Come and meet Stacey and see some of her works from her recent exhibit.

Stacey Piwinski, Artist in Residence

PLUS a SAORI Kai on Sunday, March 13 from 1-3. Please come out, bring your weaving, your questions and share in the joy of SAORI. All are welcome.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com, see some updates on my Gallery page here.

Or you can find me more often on Facebook or Instagram.

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Artist-in-Residence – Spring 2016

 

I am pleased to announce the next Artist-in-Residence at SAORI Salt Spring. And I want to thank all the others that applied…the decision was not an easy one!

March 2016 Artist-in-Residence – Stacey Piwinski, MFA of Massachusetts

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I have met some of her connections to SAORI – Mihoko Wakabayashi of SAORI Worcester and Bobbie Herron – and I look forward to meeting her soon.

She will be here in March and coming to the workshop days and SAORI Kai at Pacifica Paddle on March 12 & 13.

She says:

I would like to continue my abstract woven portraiture work, but this time instead of working with friends, I would be making new friends in new places. I have no idea where this new work will take me, but I am excited, a little scared, and willing to find out my getting my hands in an allowing the loom to make those soothing clicking sounds and guide the conversations and the fabric row by row.

Artist-in-Residence

Two Years

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Two Years (detail)

Her Artist’s Statement for an upcoming show:

Although her work speaks to painterly concerns, Stacey Piwinski (CFA’99,’00) uses textiles and found materials to create intricate weavings that consider the passage of time, the tactility of material, and interpersonal relationships. In her fabric scrolls and mixed media works, Piwinski carefully re-contextualizes objects that have personal significance or simply have been left behind. In these material and personal explorations of memory, Piwinski allows the objects to weave together new meanings and to tell new stories.

The show:
Sherman Gallery, Boston University Art Galleries
Stacey Piwinski: It’s not you, it’s me
January 22 – March 4, 2016

September 20, 1911

September 20, 1911

About Stacey
Stacey received her BFA in painting in 1999, her MFA in studio teaching in 2000 from Boston University, and most recently her MFA in visual arts from Lesley University in January 2014. Stacey participated in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Teaching Program in 2005 and was inspired by Japanese textiles, specifically Saori Weaving. As an arts educator in the Wellesley Public Schools, she has facilitated community-weaving projects as a way of connecting individuals. Weaving as a metaphor for bringing people together is a thread that runs through all of her work.

You can see more of her work here.

I’m looking forward to her SAORI explorations here at SAORI Salt Spring. I hope that many of you can join us for a SAORI Kai on March 13!

Happy Weaving,
Terri
My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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Artist-in-Residence: On my return to the South…

Susan Norton, from Louisiana was the first Artist-in-Residence at SAORI Salt Spring. I asked her for a few words about her experience here and this is what she wrote:

On my return to the South, I understand that we really do move at a much slower pace than others. Whether it was in my speech on Salt Spring Island when I ordered my lunch with ‘haamm’ or my hesitancy when choosing new colors at Terri’s studio I find that with deliberation also comes a reluctance to move forward. With exposure to new techniques and attempting to expand on my weaving knowledge I came to adopt the mantra of “just do it”. My gorgeous cabin in the woods and the sweetest people on the island helped me to feel welcomed. Now, at home I am becoming more decisive with my Saori weaving style and still trying to see with shining eyes and approach weaving with even more gentleness.

With Holidays fast approaching I feel like my artist in residency was all too brief. Making the commitment to collaborate with Terri on this experience was only the beginning of what I hope is a greater sharing on my part.

I am truly fortunate to have been the first artist in residence at Saori Salt Spring Weaving Studio.

~ Susan

It was so much fun to share the studio with Susan for a week and then to go to Pacifica Paddle to continue the journey with other SAORI weavers from the area. We also had a SAORI Kai to learn and to share with others.

Some photos from the week:

In the studio…

Making a narrow warp for learning…

And more warping…

Lynn comes over to share ideas…

Some sewing too!

At Pacifica Paddle…

And even getting out on the water…

So, I’m also announcing the next Artist-in-Residence for SAORI Salt Spring. It will be in March 2016 – with dates somewhat flexible. One of the comments that Susan had was that it felt too short – so I have an option of one-week or 10 days. Applications will be accepted up until January 1, 2016 for this AiR. More information here.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

 

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Artist in Residence (AiR) – Earth Loom

At the beginning of the month, in starting my Artist in Residence, I decided it was time to renew my Earth Loom. On the night of the full moon, I went out and threaded up the loom…

 

Over the next few days, I started to add to it. Yarn, roving and found objects – all things that are biodegradable…

 

The loom is set at the entrance to our driveway turnaround – one part goes off to the cottage, another to the studio…

 

Over the next months, I will continue to add to the weaving and invite others to as well.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

PS – Credit for the idea of my Earth Loom goes to Susan Barrett Merrill. My earth loom was built in 2009 by my cousin and I thank Tony for that! Other posts about it can be found here.

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Year of the Sheep – Creating a SAORI Sheep

Today Tara came to the studio and we planned to make a new warp. As we looked at the calendar she realized that this week is the beginning of the Year of the Sheep, so plans changed as she wanted to make a sheep to celebrate.

So, we found some fabric that she had woven and did just that.

Here is the sheep…both sides…

 

Photos by Alan Bibby.

When we had the SAORI Kai on February 1st, Tara read this:

2015 Year of the SHEEP

“A theme of Sheep year is to express your creative side. Now is the time for art, creativity and cultivation of beauty. If you ever wanted to explore your creative side, this is your year. Do not give up, be pessimistic or become discouraged because Sheep can only move forward! This animal is unable to move backwards or sideways” –http://www.astrology.com

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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SAORI AiR (Artist in Residence)

I’ve been enjoying more time to weave this last week. My living room has become my second studio and been filled with fibre & fun.

So, I made some warps this week which I absolutely love, love, love to do! One was for a commission – “Spring Garden”

Another was for my weaving…

Cotton Warp

When I threaded this one I used an open and random sett and also wove it very loosely…

Loose weaving in progress

Loose weaving off the loom

I’m happy with the result – very lacy. Not sure yet what it will become.

Then I did a second piece, again experimenting with something different…

What’s the deal?

with the teal?

I left big loops in the centre of the weaving, not measuring them, but just pulling them up to the height of the shelf (more or less) each time. After taking it off the loom, I spread it out…

loops in centre

I will be attaching this to a branch of some sort and using it as a wall hanging. The loops will create a nice drapey bit in the centre – I just need to sort them out a wee bit.

There’s more, but that will wait for another post. Also, I will be announcing details of an Artist in Residence opportunity for someone to come and share SAORI weaving with me here at SAORI Salt Spring this fall.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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Ruffle Vest

When I was in Japan last May I had a chance to try Kenzo Jo’s special stretchy yarn. I had used stretchy yarn in the weft before, but never in the warp. This yarn is stretched and starched so that you can wind it into a warp like any other fibre. Once you wash the piece, the starch comes out and the yarn contracts making for a fabulous effect.

In this piece, I put this yarn every 5 (or so) threads just in the centre section.

 

Here is the result before washing…

 

and after…

 

 

So exciting to see the changes!

Then, it stayed in my studio until a few days before the SAORI Kai this past weekend. I needed something new to wear and so it was time for this piece to become a garment. I wanted to feature the ruffles and so I made it into a vest, using the ruffles as a collar, the back yoke and as a feature at the bottom of the back of the vest.

 

 

This was so simple to make as it is just two pieces. One piece is the entire front – from the bottom at one side, up and around the back becoming the collar and yoke, and then back down the other side. The back is a piece cut off and sewn to the yoke and the two sides. I sewed this all by hand. After I made it, I realized that it is similar in design to the vest in the Beginner’s Clothing Design book called the Rocket Vest (design #9).

 

 

I added a few of “Bob’s Buttons” to finish it off (the morning of the kai!)…

 

The vest is very lightweight, but warm as all the fibre is a very soft wool from SAORI Japan.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com