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

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

Two weeks in Japan! Two weeks of SAORI inspiration! Two weeks with my friend Laura (of SAORI Studio LA)! What a wonderful time I had.

I have been trying for 4 years to get back to Japan and I finally made it. So much fun, so much SAORI – but I wish I could have stayed longer!

Imagine – an anniversary party for SAORI no Mori with over 100 people attending – all wearing SAORI. Wow.

Seeing Misao Jo again – now at 101 years old and many of the Jo families – generations of SAORI weavers. Also meeting other weavers and staff at the studio – all such wonderful, warm and fun people!


Learning more about SAORI, weaving, a clothing design class with the master clothing designer Masako and more.

I’ve been posting lots of photos on Instagram and Facebook and have neglected the blog. Apologies!

The Blossom Banner created at the Blossom Festival and finished at the studio has headed off to Hiroshima for SAORI Peace Weave 2014.

I’m now back at home, at my studio and looking forward to a SAORI Kai, SAORI workshops, classes and retreats including the Loom Dancer Weaving Odyssey retreat here in July with 10 people!

I’ll be writing more often – see you soon.

Happy Weaving,

PS – you can also read my newsletters linked on the right column of this blog or subscribe to them to get them in your eMailbox

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com


SAORI Ishonomaki

Back in April at the Blossom Festival on Salt Spring Island, I invited people to weave a “Blossom Banner” to send to the people of Japan as a message of hope for their recovery from the earthquake and tsunami.

When I went to Hawaii later in April, I met with Kenzo and Naoto Jo of SAORI No Mori and presented the Blossom Banner to them to take back to Japan. Sendai was the place that we kept hearing about in the news from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. I also had a connection to Sendai as I had sent a Peace Banner there in the past for SAORI Peace Weave 2008.

When the banner arrived in Japan, Akiko Jo asked me if it would be alright if the banner went to some other SAORI studios before finally going to Sendai. She told me about one of the SAORI studios in a smaller centre, Ishinomaki (see note below), that had been devastated by the tsunami.

2011 Tsunami Japan

2011 Tsunami Japan

Of course, it would be totally fine with me – and all those who wove it too I’m sure. The intention in the weaving of the banner was to bring hope and good wishes for recovery to the people in Japan – so wherever that may be needed was certainly a good thing and I felt very honoured.

Akiko translated the posts about the banner from my blog into Japanese and Kenzo took the banner to the grand re-opening of the studio.

The owner of the studio had a very difficult time during the tsunami, but really wanted to re-open her studio. From Akiko’s email:

The owner of the studio is Ms. Emiko Oikawa.
The name of her studio is SAORI Weaving Studio “Yokisha”.
“Yokisha” is made of three Kanji (Chinese) characters, and each character means “give”, “joy” and “building”.
So they mean that “the studio gives joy to the visitors”.

Ms. Oikawa is so energetic to re-open her studio only 3 months after the disaster. As you can see on some of the photos, the streets of her neighborhood are still filled with the remaining wreckage, including some boats. The wreckage carried around by the Tsunami reached the height of the traffic lights, and damaged them.


Photos from the opening….

SAORI Ishonomaki

Akiko also says in her note:

Everyone who attended the reception looked at them and were impressed by
the kind thoughts brought with the banner all the way from Canada.

This is a weaving done by Kenzo Jo and his colleagues at Saori no Mori in Osaka, Japan also for the opening. They did double-cloth weaving on both looms, so the width of this tapestry is 240cm (four times 60cm).

We wish Ms. Oikawa and all of the visitors to the studio much hope and joy.”

Now the banner will travel to other studios before going to Sendai.

Thank you to all the weavers who participated in weaving the Blossom Banner – it now continues on it’s relay through Japan!

Happy Weaving,

My website: www.saltspringweaving.ca

Note from Wikipedia on Ishinomaki:

The city was among the most seriously affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.] A tsunami about 10 meters high traveled 600 meters inland and destroyed around 80% of the 700 houses in the coastal whaling port of Ayukawa and district of Kadonowaki. Approximately 46% of the city was inundated by the tsunami. One elementary school, Okawa Elementary, was completely destroyed, killing 74 of 108 students and 10 of 13 teachers and staff. As of 17 June 2011 a total of 3,097 deaths had been confirmed in Ishinomaki due to the tsunami, with 2,770 unaccounted for. The earthquake shifted the city southeast and downward, lowering it by as much as 1.2 m in some areas and causing it to flood twice daily at high tide.

I have been wanting to go to Japan during Cherry Blossom season ever since I started Saori Weaving and made my first trip there. Last year I missed it by a couple of weeks. This year it is my prayers that I’m sending to Japan.

However, this weekend there is a Blossom Festival on Salt Spring Island!! How cool is that?? So, I’m going to participate and take my Saori loom with a ‘blossom’ warp on it and take a basketful of blossom-y yarns and invite people to weave.

Blossom Festival 2011

The banner, when completed, will be sent to Japan as I see it as a sign of new growth, rebuilding, collaboration and hope.

Cherry Blossom

This will happen on Sunday, April 10 at the Harbour House Hotel in Ganges on Salt Spring Island from Noon – 5pm. There are many other events happening too.

If you are able, please come by and add some threads of hope and spring to the banner.

A friend of mine just sent this quote that I think is so appropriate – and so I’ve added it to this post:

Yoshida Kenko once said that “Blossoms are scattered by the wind and the wind cares nothing, but the blossoms of the heart no wind can touch.”

Happy Weaving,

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

I wrote an article for “Fibre Focus” – The Ontario Handweavers and Spinners magazine – on my “Weaving a Banner for Peace” project this past summer. The magazine has just been published and I am so excited. I haven’t received my copy yet – but look forward to getting it soon.

My website: www.saltspringweaving.ca

This past summer I went to the World Peace Forum with my SAORI loom, a rainbow warp and facilitated the Weaving of a Peace Banner. Over 100 people from all over the world contributed to weaving peace.

It was an amazing experience for me. A chance to share my love of weaving and my hopes, wishes, dreams and prayers of Peace with many others. In SAORI weaving there are no mistakes, each weaving is an expression of the individual and so I thought that the weaving by a community of people would be an expression of that community. So the idea for a Peace Banner was born.

I love the quote from SAORI Worcester:
“The SAORI way is to weave friendships as we weave fabric. SAORI bridges differences between people, and celebrates both our variety and our common humanity.”

The Peace Banner is now at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, BC where they have it on display in their drop-in centre.