SAORI is a contemporary hand weaving program founded by Misao Jo (1913-, Japan) in 1969. She started weaving when she was 57 years old and, with her son, invented her own loom and created her own style, free from the traditional concept and rules of weaving. She named her weaving style 'SAORI' in which anyone can express oneself freely regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude.
The SA of SAORI is the first syllable of the word SAI. SAI is found in Zen vocabulary. It means everything has its own individual dignity. And the ORI of SAORI means weaving.
SAORI in Japan is also known as VSA Arts Japan. VSA Arts is an international non-profit organization that creates learning opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities. It was founded by Jean Kennedy Smith as an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As an affiliate of VSA Arts, VSA Arts Japan provides worldwide support for the artistic activities of people with disabilities
Since SAORI has been introduced all over Japan, there are more than 50,000 SAORI weavers in the country. SAORI has also been introduced overseas in more than 45 countries in Asia, the Middle East, North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa. It is offered as a healing art at nearly one thousand institutions including special education schools, sheltered workshops, high schools, adult education centers, and rehabilitation centers for people with disabilities.
SAORI IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA