I have been weaving a little Saori-style recently. I’ve had a warp on the loom for months now that has been sitting in the corner of the living room silently shouting at me but new spinning wheels and weaving competitions have been taking my attention instead (by the way I’d imagined the competition would be the subject of my next blog but that isn’t to be).
I love weaving in a free form style as it feels like playing. There are no rules, no straight selvedges to fret about, tension issues disappear and colour and texture abound.
This piece feels like a bit of a journey in that I started with the focus on colour and visual aspects when winding the warp; as it progressed I became more and more aware of texture as I added core spun yarn, wool roving, silk top and random silk threads.
It led me to thinking about one of the aspects I love about the Saori philosophy: accessibility. The Saori company promotes weaving to folk with different abilities and offers various adaptations to their looms and equipment to enable a diversity of weavers to express themselves.
A fear of mine is visual impairment, how would I be able to engage with my passions if I wasn’t able to see so well? I wondered how people living with visual impairments would enjoy hand weaving, both as an activity and also wearing or using handwovens? What would I like if I were relying on my other senses instead? I added more and more texture trying to imagine how it would feel rather than look.
No matter how much I try, I am restrained by the visual aspect, this becomes my disability. Maybe I need to challenge myself and weave blind folded using ‘ingredients’ according to the touch and smell of them; the lovely sheepy smell of wool, the peculiar whiff of tussah silk…
I’m very happy with this, I run my hands over it and feel the different handspun yarns, the alpaca, silk and wool with their different sensations of warm and cool, soft and compacted. It is an evocative work.