Over her year-end break, my mom signed up at Shuttles and Needles for a 4-day SAORI workshop. On her last evening there, she asked me to drop by to explore the studio and see her work. I was missing the December Carnatic music season, so her talk about a loom setup with musical notations was a real enticement to get me into the studio.
During my visit, the friendly people at the studio gave my dad and me an extensive studio tour and walked us through how they had conceptualized and arranged an 8-shaft loom with musical notations – so that anyone with an understanding of the raga, could play it on the loom and make the raga’s unique rhythmic pattern – without having to understand the intricacies of the loom and shafts. I also got to make my own mini weave of the ragas Natakurunji and Mohanam. Then all of us spent a few minutes comparing the patterns and colour play of my weave composition with that created earlier in the studio based on raga Shankarabaranam. This was definitely the highlight of my visit. At the end of my studio tour, I signed up for a Weaving Spa to try out
Making my own fabric
My mother had made a really unique SAORI Stole in her workshop, and I was raring to go to create my own composition. The default black warp was too prominent and distracting for me and I requested the studio for possible alternatives. Thanks to the team, my loom was set up with a beautiful blue warp. The Weaving spa allowed me to play with yarns of varying colours, textures and weights. In my quilts and art, I don’t like to recreate existing patterns or imitate other artists. SAORI is also rooted in the practice of being original and making your own mark. I ended up spending over half of my Christmas break at the studio. Some days, my mother and I spent 3-4 hours weaving all the way to closing time. It was good to have a colour and light-filled space with minimal distractions to work on my art at my own pace. I’m really happy with the first piece that I created and hope to continue my explorations on the loomSAORI weaving
This year my recommendation at school was to find more avenues to integrate art in our curriculum. I loved the freedom of exploring this art and am glad to have found this unique and inspiring space in my city to escape for a mini staycation whenever the mood strikes.
Ritu Sudharshan is a Class X student and her interests include reading, travel, Indian classical music & dance. She started quilting at 10, and is an award-winning quilter and textile artist.