Sunday, 15 December 2013

Finding Saori

This past year, still inspired by things I saw at Penland, I decided to pursue more weaving. I found a beautiful Tools of the Trade loom in Montana and brought it home. With Deborah Chandler's book and some youtube videos by Elizabeth Wagner(she is awesome!) I taught myself to tie on the warp and it worked out pretty well. It is a lot more work to wind this baby up then the little rigid heddle loom that I have previously used.

As I had been so turned of doing any pottery, and I obviously wasn't going to get any work done, I planned a holiday in August to spend time with my mom.  My holiday included a trip to Salt Spring Island and a Saori weaving class.   Saori Salt Spring was offering a weekend class and my mom and I spent the entire weekend learning Saori weaving and I totally fell in love with it! It is an amazing art form and philosophy. Everything about saori is cool, the looms are amazingly simple to operate and the tools are so well thought out and well built.  I had to exert some serious self control in the spending department!

SAORI has 4 slogans:
  • Consider the differences between machines and people
  • Weave with a Happy Heart
  • Explore with all your might
  • Learn together as a group
“SAORI” is a contemporary hand weaving style founded by Misao Jo (born in 1913, Osaka, Japan, picture) in 1968. It is a free-style weaving without any rules or restrictions of what or how to weave. SAORI: “SA” of SAORI has the same meaning as the first syllable of the Zen world “SAI”. It means everything has its own individual dignity. “ORI” means weaving in Japanese. SAORI weaving is not merely the act of weaving a piece of cloth; it is an attempt to identify our true selves. This therapeutic way of weaving heals you from your busy daily lives because SAORI is free-style weaving. Enjoy “being empty” and “expressing yourself” while weave. Our mission is not to teach you, but lead you to true “Freedom”.
“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 measure 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

I had taken an intuitive painting class last February in Richmond with Caroline James, Hornby Island Peace Works. It seems to be my theme for this year; work intuitively and be free in my work.

Terri Bibby who owns Saori Salt Spring was a fantastic teacher and so generous with her knowledge and passions for saori weaving. We wove like mad and my mom and I ended up with some glorious things to take home. The whole thing with saori is tha thou can do whatever you feel like at the time and it will all work out in the end. No patterns, no counting, just free weaving. it is so inspiring and it is so cool to have "no rules" to worry about. 

We also learned about Bengala dyes and so before leaving we bought a bunch from Terri and dyed like crazy women when we got back to my mom's. When my mom and I get together we seem to do so much in a short period of time. We canned fruit, sewed, went to fibrations and I am sure a ton of other things. I always seem to bring a van load of stuff for my mom and then take a van  load home!

 bengala dyed rovings
and yarns

Creative Chaos

Last June  8,9,10, I did the Creative Chaos 3 day show in Vernon, BC. First off, as anyone who has done craft shows knows, 3 days at a show is a long time. It is even longer if no one is buying anything! 

All I heard all weekend long was; "oh my gawd! Your stuff is so amazing and I haven't seen anything like it! $35 for a mug?!!" and then they would leave. I sell a ton of mugs normally and I only sold one the whole weekend.  I wanted to give the person who bought It 5 more to take with them!! It was a lame show for me and I don't think I was the only one with poor sales, I saw a lot of long faces from vendors. 

I left there wanting to 1. never do another craft show and 2. quit doing ceramics. that show and all the people that I talked to turned me off of doing any kind of pottery again and after I got home, I unpacked all my stuff and didn't go into my studio for  2 months and that was only to set up for an open house weekend.

my booth

San Angelo, Texas

A few years ago I met these three crazy Texans while attending NCECA in Phoenix. According to Roger, they found me wandering the streets aimlessly and needing help. We have kept in touch and early in the year Jim Bob invited me to be a part of a tile show he was curating for the Ceramics Symposium put on by the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. It is a biannual show and has some really big name ceramic artists participate. I was honoured to be a part of this show and also scared shitless that I would make some crap that no now would like.

 I decided to make some tiles with my Cirque du Poulet theme and when I saw the list of other participants I almost wet my pants!! It was an amazing experience to be a part of this show and to spend time in Texas, AND I sold 3 tiles!! My Cirque du Poluet tiles were so well received, I had such a good time and met some really great people. The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts had an amazing display of art and I got so caught up looking at it that I almost missed the opening of the tile show!! Some days I am such a ditz. 

My friend Roger Allen owns the Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo and they had artist demos and raku firing and a dinner and dance, it was fabulous! I met James Watkins and Randy Brodnax, raku artists extraordinaire. That Randy is a complete riot! I may have to take his raku class next year in Lake Tahoe at the Sierra Nevada College. The Chicken Farm is such a cool place. it has  centre courtyard for demos and parties and then all around it are artist studios. Potters, jewellers, wood workers, painters, clothing, there was a cool guy named Tony making copper light fixtures too, I have the perfect place in my house for one, now where is his business card….

Jerry and Susan Warnell, who run the Inn at the Art Center were so kind to me and I was grateful and happy that they bought one of my tiles.

I had such a great time in San Angelo, I bought some great pots, met great people and it was so fun to see Jim Bob, Roger and Mark again. I would love to go back, all the young guys there that I met thought I was 27!!! Yee Haw! I loved Texas!lol 

 Roger me and Mark

 Chicken Farm art

 Some of Roger's work

Jim Bob Salazar, Mark Epstein and James Watkins, all fabulous potters

my tiles at the show

I am back!

Well it has been almost 2 years since I was at Penland and I still think of it often and all the great people that I met there. I still get so inspired by the memories of the fellow students, artists and the studios that we visited. 

So much has happened in my life since returning home. I purchased a brand new, 10Cu Foot, L&L kiln. I am so in love with this thing and it's amazing capabilities. Just having a big kiln is awesome!! Who said size doesn't matter?!!lol I struggled with finding a name for this big beauty and I finally came up with Lucy Lawless AKA Xena: Pottery Warrior. Lucy and I have been getting along just fine and I think she even has been working better since getting such a strong name, she is ready to kick some ass!
she's a big girl and needs a bit of a lift.

my man knows a good woman when he sees one!

This year has been the year of the mug for me. I (and Lucy)made tons of them and had no problems selling them, in fact I had a hard time keeping up with the gallery demands. I know... what problems to have.

Early in the year, I had applied to be in a show with the Alberta Potters Association  that was being held in Calgary and I made a 3 piece sculpture called Cirque du Poulet. It was a riot to make and it gets so much attention wherever I take it. I ended up withdrawing from that show as I had too many other commitments at the same time but Cirque du Poulet has been shown in 3 different locations since and lives on in my studio.


 la boom

la flip