A group of women at TSE in the St. Paul area got their feet wet in Japanese weaving several years ago, and have now progressed to teaching the creative skills at the White Bear Center for the Arts and selling their creations at the center, and at art events.
“I’m proud of them, going from kind of a personal art skill to selling your stuff, and now they’re teachers and getting paid to do it,” said Dan Rietz, vice president of TSE, Inc.
Trained by Japanese “Saori” weaver Chiaki O’Brien, who came to Minnesota in 2004, the TSE group started with four weavers and have now expanded their operation to eight. It all began with a grant to hire O’Brien and purchase equipment. After that effort ended, the program expanded.
Ori means weaving in Japanese and So means everything has it’s own beauty, explains O’Brien, who said the motto is that there are no mistakes.
The threads or yarn that’s fed into the wide wooden looms is called warp. With some 20 to 30 colors on hand, weavers produce scarves, wall hangings and pins. The neckwear takes between three and six hours to make and products sell for $40 to $160.
Every piece is named, said supervisor Kristen Carlson. The group can be found at the White Bear Art Center three days a week, interacting with artists and patrons, and practicing the Japanese tradition.