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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.

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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 – 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

spring2016-air_01

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

Artist-in-Residence

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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SAORI Clothing Design – A vest conversion

Two years ago I made a long, simple vest out of some fabric that I had woven. The vest was 3 strips of fabric sewn together with spaces left for the armholes and slits left in the bottom section. It could be worn two ways and I wrote about it here.

Here it is flat:

construct

And here was the finished piece:

jump

I liked it a lot … BUT I didn’t wear it.

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One day a couple of weeks ago, I had an idea. Inspired by Lynn’s Squid family, it occurred to me that the fabric could easily be made into a squid tunic / dress. All I had to do was sew up the seams completely, where I had left them open. Fold it, with one corner at the top – sew it up and cut a couple of new armholes.

And, ta da, it became a squid 🙂 that can be worn either way – the cowl at the front and it looks like a dress…

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The cowl at the back, which becomes a collar and then it looks more like a tunic…

Details…

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AND now I’ve been wearing it a LOT!

It’s good to listen to the cloth…

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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PS…I’m posting much more often on my Facebook page and Instagram account, so you can keep up with happenings there. Or you can join my mailing list here.

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Loom Dancer Weaving Odysseys – August 2015

What an amazing two weeks!

It started with Karen coming early to spend some time on retreat and learning more about SAORI weaving and assisting with preparation for the workshops.

The first day is a tour of Salt Spring Island – my studio, Ewetopia Farm, the Gulf Islands Spinning Mill and then Seaside Kitchen for lunch.

Ewetopia Farm

Gulf Islands Spinning Mill

Then it’s off to the wineries, the brewery, Salt Spring Cheese, the Bread Lady, etc. for a real ‘Taste of Salt Spring’.

On Friday, the weaving began … it continued right through until Monday afternoon with a break on Saturday for a visit to the Salt Spring Saturday Market.

The people, the weaving, the enthusiasm and creativity of both groups was outstanding. Definitely one of the highlights of my year!

Both tours were sold out with 10 people in each, plus Cari & Karen, so we had full studios…

The studio at Harbour House

The studio at Mineral Springs Resort

On the final day, Lynn Jones came over to share some of her clothing designs. A fashion show gave new inspiration as we also demoed how to create the origami-style clothes.

 

We looked at patterns from the books. Kenzo-san always says the writing may be Japanese, but the pictures are in English 🙂 So we took some examples and did paper folding to help understand how the cloth is folded, cut and sewn.

 

The finales were spectacular!

August 5- 11 at Harbour House

August 12-18 at Mineral Springs Spa

Thanks to each person who came. Please keep in touch – I’d love to see where SAORI takes you. A special thanks to Cari for her vision and organization. Many of the people have been on other tours with Loom Dancer Weaving Odysseys and I can certainly see why. And thanks again to Karen and Lynn for all of their help at the workshop.

Cari Malver, Loom Dancer Weaving Odysseys

Note: Many photos of the weaving can be found on my Facebook page and Instagram account

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

And thanks to Rufus – the Loom Dancer mascot 🙂

The Squid Family – by Lynn Jones

Lynn has been assisting me for many years with all kinds of SAORI events in and around Victoria. She has also been doing some wonderful SAORI clothing design – I’ll let her share her story and some great photos!

My weaving journey began in 2006. My weaving ‘passion’ began in 2009 when I met Terri at a class at Knotty By Nature and was introduced to SAORI. I immediately embraced the free form style of weaving (I’d already strayed from traditional weaving), but also found that the philosophy truly spoke to me. “We do not weave a piece of cloth, but rather our true selves.” Six years after that first class, I continue to discover more and more of my creative self.

Terrified at first of cutting and sewing my precious cloth, I gradually, one seam at a time, grew to love creating wearable pieces of art. One of the first pieces I made was the ‘squid’ vest. It’s simple to make, drapes well, and like all SAORI patterns, is as unique as each person who weaves and sews the vest.

 

 

The squid vest eventually became a tunic. A cloth I decided to weave using up the end of a black warp with ‘treasures’ from my overflowing basket was used.

 

Then, there were the versions of the tunic. One with recycled t-shirt material because I didn’t have enough yardage. Then another one as a long vest. Again with t-shirt bits for closures.

 

My sewing discoveries have led to jackets over the past year. Victoria, even in the warm months, requires layers. So, the challenge of sleeves! A few jackets later, I remembered my beloved ‘squid’ vest and it’s growing family. I used a pattern that was the ‘squid’ vest with sleeves.

 

 

I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. It flows, it’s cozy, it has recycled silk shirts. It’s finished off with 2 of Bob’s buttons. The very first piece of wet felt I made became it’s pocket! If it’s too warm here in the next 2 months to wear it, I’ll just hang it in my studio and look at it!

I hope your SAORI journey is as exciting and satisfying as mine has been.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my ‘squid’ family here Terri!

Thanks so much Lynn. I love your Squid Family of clothes!

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com