Prior to full time devotion to SAORI ARTS NYC, Ria Hawks was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY Presbyterian, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Her focus was to provide children with palliative and curative care for children with cancer and life threatening hematological diseases. Throughout her career, she has been an advocate for Integrative therapies, which included interventions that promoted healing.

As a SAORI weaver, Ria recognized that SAORI weaving could decrease stress and anxiety, as well as enhance self-expression and coping skills. From that perspective, she established a SAORI weaving program, which was adaptable to different developmental, physical, and emotional needs, in the Pediatric Hem/Onc/BMT center at CUMC. As an adjunct professor at Bank Street College of Graduate Education, Ria shares her expertise with child life specialist students. Ria also volunteers in the Arts in Medicine Studio, in the Pediatric Neurology Clinic at CUMC. SAORI ARTS NYC is a full circle for Ria.

As a child, Ria enjoyed embroidery and needlepoint with her mother, as an adult, she  was drawn to nursing people, and now, she embraces SAORI weaving to combine with her passion for healing with the joy of creating pieces of art.



Yukako studied visual design at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. At the age of 25, Yukako moved to NYC to work as an assistant art director for an advertising agency for seven years. After devoting her time to raising her daughter, she encountered Misao Jo in Japan, the founder of SAORI. Her
meeting occurred one month before her traumatic experience from the tragedy of 9/11. Yukako practiced SAORI weaving as a form of healing herself and understood very early in her
relationship with SAORI that this was something she would share.

Yukako hosted her first SAORI workshop near Ground Zero for friends and children in grief
post 9/11. With a portable loom, she traveled to many places to demonstrate SAORI as a
public art activity, and realized that SAORI is therapeutic not only for healing, but also for
discovering the joy of living.

In 2005 Yukako became a certified SAORI instructor, and opened a SAORI weaving studio
called Loop of the Loom. As a pioneer of SAORI in the US she has been coaching its
method in the local and global community. She received grants from Peace Stone
Foundation as a teaching artist in Senegal and The Laura Lenzner Adasko Artist in
Residence program at Bank Street School for Children in 2011.



Brandy is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Fiber Art and a Fashion Design Concentration.  She moved to NYC in 2009 and apprenticed as a tailor with a bespoke suit maker. Continuing to learn the craft of tailoring and patternmaking, she worked for fashion houses such as Etro, Marni, Isaac Mizrahi Couture, and tailoring agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Seeking a free form weaving method, Brandy began weaving at SAORI studio Loop of the Loom. From the first weaving session, Brandy recognized it was clear the ease and liberation that SAORI provides for all. Discovering the significant benefits SAORI provides for people with disabilities, she found a serendipitous match. In April 2015, Brandy spearheaded a successful collaboration between people with disabilities in Japan and fashion designers in NYC. Brandy collaborated with thirteen year old non-verbal autistic SAORI weaver in Japan named Amane for this event. She made a garment with Amane’s inspirational weaving.

Brandy introduced the SAORI method to her non-verbal autistic brother Gary in California.
He now resides with her in NYC and enjoys drawing, painting, as well as SAORI weaving.