saori weaving class @ Loop of the Loom

This week, what started as my usual "What to do in NYC this weekend" search on Time Out led me to discovering SAORI weaving. Time Out redirected me to Course Horse, an event listing site for classes and workshops in NYC and LA. I had never heard of Course Horse before, but boy is it a smart invention. Even Brooklyn Charm has listings on there now. It just shows how incredibly diverse the city is. Anyway, my dates were somewhat limited, but I ended up finding a class that caught my attention: SAORI weaving for beginners. And to my upmost convenience, it was to be held at Loop the Loom, a studio right by our place!

I arrived at Loop the Loom a little early and looked around its boutique section. Shelves were filled with soft-looking threads in lovely, neutral colors. There were also Japanese dyes in beautiful bottles, almost like the ones in which you would find sake.

When it was time for my class, I observed the no-shoes policy (love that) and was taken into a larger room filled with half a dozen SAORI looms. SAORI, as described by Loop the Loom's website, "is a ZEN art of weaving from Japan that is dedicated to free expression and self-development." It was created in 1969 by Misao Jo, who developed her own loom and method, making weaving accessible to all.

To my surprise, the 'teaching' part of my course lasted just under two minutes. That's right: it takes less than two minutes to learn the basics of SAORI. It took me a few more to get the hang of the different movements, and though I must have performed them in the wrong order a few times, the weaving itself requires little focus. In fact, it's quite meditative.

Later in the class, I was also briefly shown how to create my own single or multi-threaded bobbin - which is not unlike making a bobbin for your sewing machine - and also how to add 'extras' to my work. My final product? A colorful, Moroccan-inspired wall hanging to complement the rug in our apartment. It'll dress up those blank walls quite nicely!

It's a shame my summer in NYC is ending in a week, because I would have really loved to go back to Loop of the Loom to try out some different colors! Perhaps a similar studio exists in Montreal...that's something to look into.