Skip to content

Uninhibited Exploration-Kids and SAORI

Last week I had the opportunity to assist my friend and mentor, Chiaki O’Brien, teaching SAORI weaving to K-5th graders, at the Blake School just outside Minneapolis.  To say it was an inspirational week is an understatement.

First let me start by saying, we were less “teaching” and more watching in awe what these kids were creating.  Chiaki is the founder of SAORI StudioFun just outside Minneapolis.  She is one of the greatest people I have worked with.  She is always encouraging you to explore and learn, while also sharing inspiration and gentle guidance.  One of the things I l love that she told the kids was that plants just know how to grow. They don’t need to be taught.  Just like them, they don’t need to be taught how to create. They are creative just as they are.  She  showed each group the process of weaving, and how to use the loom; and then let the kids just do their things.
12795238_10207042489959182_1856393304804123027_o
The 4 SAORI principals were in full effect during the week.   Kids were encouraged to stay in the moment and follow their hearts with color and texture choices.  There was a candy store of yarn colors and textures for the kids to choose from.  They even wound their own bobbins, combining yarns for their own enjoyment.

We worked with kids in grades K-5.  Some groups were large enough so the kids needed to work together.  It was amazing to watch them figure out a process. Some would have one kid push the pedals and the other throw the shuttle,  Other kids would weave a few picks and then trade.   There was no fighting over yarn, or who’s turn it was to weave. Everyone worked together.  Even in the groups that were small enough for everyone to have their own loom, there were some kids that continued to want to work with others. They thrived on the collaboration.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Kids also learned from each other.  They watched each other and when one wanted to wind a bobbin, the kid at the loom over would show them how.  When groups were on their second session we began showing them techniques like clasp weft.  We showed one or two kids, and then in turn shared the technique with those around them.  It was a joy to watch them get excited about teaching their friends.    It was so great to see their minds work.. more than one kid mastered 2 color clasped weft and quickly asked about combining 3 colors. Before long they had cones on the floor and a 3 color pattern emerging on their loom.    There was so much awesome, it was hard to capture it all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Without any prompting, one boy began working the yarn with his fingers, rather than pulling down the beater bar.   His shuttle flew as his fingers danced above the loom.
12800284_10207084305364541_3789030937629174392_n
Another boy created a picture of a sun in the sky, over a hill and water.
12783567_10207053169866173_3754705950836155179_o

There were 11 looms, and as the week progressed we began to cut the fabric off, and create SAORI Wish Flags.  They hung above the looms, sharing the positive energy of the hands that wove them.
12823427_10207063742930493_3169651497035667841_o
The kids were so happy.  We heard things like “I want one of these at HOME” and “I want to do this for a job!!”  Teachers told us that the kids were later telling them about how much they loved their time with us, and how much they wanted to come back.  One boy loved weaving so much after his first session, he went home and poked holes in a paper plate and figured out how to use it as a circle loom and weave.  He proudly brought it back to show us at his next session. Chiaki showed him clasped weft and that’s what he did the rest of the time.
12828454_10153975461069715_7652709576531697057_o
I had such a great time with Chiaki and the kids. I was super sad to have to leave at the end of the week- I soaked up as much creative energy to take home as I could.  I look forward to the next time I can so fully be inspired by a roomful of kids at looms!
11062127_10207063296759339_4989881196915930712_o

Advertisements
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for sharing your story from last week. That was beautifully said. I’m so honored to be with you last week. The Blake kids learned more about fiber because of you! Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU!

    March 8, 2016
  2. This looks like it was truly inspirational and exciting. Thank you for sharing your pictures and stories. It’s really set me up to have a creative day! I love teaching kids how to make things, they have such wonderful energy and enthusiasm. Louise

    March 9, 2016

Comment on this:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: