Last weekend my parents were in town, and to say that my mom treated Olive and I to something special would be an understatement. We had our first lesson in weaving.
It also happened that my parents were in town for Maker Faire this year, which is where my mom struck up a conversation with Yukako, the founder of Loop of the Loom. We learned that Loop of the Loom is a weaving studio on the Upper East Side, and my mom signed us up for a two-hour lesson.
We arrived and took our places at our individual looms with one other family, a couple and their college-aged daughter. After being shown the basics of working the loom, we were off and running. A few minutes later we were taught to wind our own bobbins with the gorgeous variety of threads and yarns around the studio. By about 20 minutes in, Olive was working independently. We all experimented with mixing colors and adding in different textures like colored cotton and ribbon. As we neared the two-hour mark, we wished for another two hours. We really could have done it all day.
SAORI is a contemporary hand weaving program founded by Misao Jo (1913- , Japan) in 1969. She started weaving when she was 57 years old and created her own loom and style, free from the traditional concept and rules of weaving. She named her weaving style ‘SAORI’ in which anyone can express oneself freely regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude. In SAORI, people can enjoy hand weaving as an art form not only as a hand craft.
Our experience in the studio fully embodied that. We all felt equally able to work the loom, freeing us to the creative expression of color and texture. We’re talking about going back with a group of 7 and 8-year-olds for Olive’s birthday. There’s also a big celebration on April 28 to celebrate Misao Jo’s 100th Birthday, which will include a short film, a panel discussion, and a fashion show. Check out the details on the Loop of the Loom website.
If you’re in New York, I highly recommend giving Loop of the Loom a try. For those outside of the city, see if you can find some weaving near you. Zen arts are good for kids and grown-ups.