Making Clothing in the SAORI Way: A Demonstration Workshop with Mihoko Wakabayashi


Mihoko will guide you to learn simple SAORI clothing patterns with paper, scissors and tape. She will also demonstrates sewing handwoven piece with a sewing machine.


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Friday, December 13, 2019
10:00am to 12:00pm.

Mihoko will talk about SAORI weaving, a contemporary improvisational weaving started in Japan 50 years ago at first, and introduce simple clothing designs. Participants will learn how they are constructed by using paper, scissors and tape. Mihoko will also demonstrates sewing handwoven piece with a sewing machine so you will learn tips about a needle and stitches. This requires you only a beginner skill of sewing. You will be confident to try making a garment with your handwoven materials at home after this workshop.


Falmouth Art Center Refund Policy:

Refunds will not be given within one month of the start of a workshop. Workshops are not pro-rated. A $25 processing fee is withheld from all refunds.

The Art Center reserves the right to cancel any workshop due to insufficient enrollment, in which case tuition will be fully refunded.



All materials provided.

Instructor Bio

Mihoko Wakabayashi was born and grew up in Yokohama, Japan and graduated from Doshisha University in Kyoto. After receiving her B.A. in Education, she learned weaving by working with young people who struggled in the Japanese school system. While living in Michigan, she studied traditional weaving with a four-harness loom. When she returned to Japan, she fell in love with the SAORI style of weaving, became a certified SAORI teacher and a member of the SAORI Leaders’ Committee.


When Mihoko moved to Worcester, MA in 2000, she opened the first SAORI Weaving studio offering regular classes to the public, in her third-story apartment. From 2004 to 2009 she ran a storefront studio on Highland Street with her ex-husband Nathaniel Needle. Since the fall of 2009 her studio has been located behind her home near downtown Worcester. She divides her time between teaching SAORI and creating her own work.

SAORI Weaving encourages everyone to weave spontaneously from their hearts. It is based on the ancient Zen principles of spontaneity and self-discovery. There are no “mistakes”. SAORI reflects a way of self-expression, art, and creativity.

Mihoko believes that SAORI Weaving is a great outlet for everyone to express themselves, not only as art therapy, but also as a way to identify them as artists. She is a teaching artist at VSA and has taught many people with physical or mental challenges. She has done many workshops and introduced weaving programs at organizations such as Worcester Public Schools, Holy Cross, Seven Hills Family Foundation, Worcester Boys and Girls Club, and The Cambridge Homes.

Mihoko has been leading the SAORI movement in US by training new instructors, translating works, and being active on social media. Every other year since 2005 she has organized and guided a two-week tour of Japan to educate people about Japanese culture and the origins of SAORI. In summer of 2010 she and her ex-husband organized the outdoor installation at the Elm Park in Worcester hanging 66 SAORI tapestries from all over the world. She was awarded by Worcester Arts Council for her second outside installation SAORI Bridge Project 2020.

Mihoko was awarded as an Artist Fellowship Grant in 2016. Currently she is also funded for her “Seed to Fashion” program in which participants grow indigo plants in a community garden and learn to dye and to weave a scarf with the dyed yarn at the end.

She has been passionate about educating people to develop their inner creativity through SAORI method. In her work, she incorporates yarn she spins and dyes herself. She transforms old kimonos, T-shirts and other recycled materials into the components of a piece. From weaving with rice paper to patchwork reverse appliqué, she is always melding traditional forms with innovative techniques.