Artist Biographical Notes

for Ellen Finan

Weaving Without Intention: The Saori Way

Often thought of as the improvisational jazz form of weaving, Saori weaving aims to free one's inner creativity through the expression of self and to instantiate the aesthetic of wabi sabi  --  the rustic, the personal, the imperfect. Saori comes from two Japanese words: sa meaning self and ori meaning to weave. As such, I have one of five Saori studios on the West Coast approved by Saorinomori of Osaka, Japan.

People often ask me if I saw myself as a fiber artist fifteen years ago. I say no; however, I had since long ago an interest in weaving and textiles when I wove field flowers and rushes into simple wooden frames or dyed yarns with dandelions and greens or crocheted afghans and embroidered blouses and purses for friends in the 1970s. But my interest certainly did not encompass the serious study and making of cloth that I began twelve years ago under the direction of Mihoko Wakabayashi at Saori Worcester in 2007.

Saori introduced me to an aesthetic that guides my vision, a set of principles that focus my efforts and a skill that enables me to create. The art of Saori cultivates a lack of intention: in other words, one weaves without pre-planned drafts as one would in more traditional weaving. In this way the weaver is free to embrace serendipity  --  those moments of inspiration  --  by being in the moment. Each item than cannot be replicated. It is what it is, embracing its one of a kind nature. Irregular selvages constitute an opportunity to move past the boundary of cloth; the different textures and yarn add dimension; color creates interest; design evolves. Such is the basis for Saori weaving.  My recent work-- The Disintegration of the Fabric of Society-- has been juried into Crisis Mode exhibition at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (November- December 2020) and another piece-- Meandering in Place-- is showing in the La Quinta Museum's online exhibit called Uncertain Times (2020-2021).

In March of 2020 I participated in an International Textile workshop at Tasarabeypore in Kerala, India. We studied a variety of surface design techniques that I plan to share in the fall of 2021 in workshops. 

As a Saori weaver, I have shown my work in the the annual members exhibits at the Riverside Art Museum (2016,2014,2013 ) as well as the Riverside Community Arts Center (2015).  My work was also included in the La Quinta Museum's Tell Me a Story Exhibition (2017).  Additionally, over twenty of my works constituted a collaborative show with photographer Heather Sprague at the 29 Palms Art Gallery (2016).  Currently, I am a juried member of the Desert Art Center in Palm Springs and Borrego Springs Art Institute  as well as an artist in La Quinta's Art on Main Street, Riverside Art Museum's Art Fair, and  a featured artist at the museum's Blue Door Gift Store.  

A former teacher of English and World History, I have found weaving and fiber arts to be my vehicle for self-expression.  Growing up in a town in New England where the textile industry dominated (wool combing in particular), I have always possessed an interest in textiles, collecting pieces in my travels and in later years learning to weave and felt.