TEN students from Saint Francis School-VSA Arts Philippines, including their parent chaperones and mentors, participated in last month’s Rock & Art 2017 Osaka Festival held at Nakano-cho Miyahojima-ku, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
The delegates, who consisted of kids with various disabilities and talents—mostly deaf kids with hearing implants—showcased their talent in Saori Japanese weaving, cultural dances and modeling.
Saori is a handweaving program founded in 1968 by Misao Jo, a Japanese lady, for self-expression and had produced 40,000 weavers in Japan, regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude. It was then brought overseas in more than 40 countries.
For differently-abled individuals, Saori focuses on a unique weaving technique: the more mistakes, the better. The result is one-of-a-kind woven tapestry showcasing the individual’s creativity.
The woven materials are transformed into products from cute kikay bags, ecobags and lady’s bags, wallets, passport holders, hats, headdresses, stuffed toys, key chains, earrings, scarves, shawls, vests, T-shirts, unisex tops and dresses, among others.
The technology is specifically designed to engage differently-abled persons in handloom weaving as a therapeutic rehabilitation for their physical, mental, social and vocational ability. It features a hand-held lever in place of the treadle in interchanging heddles to lock wefts.
The therapeutic handlooms also promote easy-weaving comprehension as they only need eye-hand coordination for their users. Saori weaving has always been included at Saint Francis School’s special curriculum called Learning Through the Arts.
Saint Francis School in Quezon City served as a Saori urban hand-weaving center, with four portable handweaving looms from Japan and Thailand, plus 10 new looms designed and donated by the Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region-Philippine Textile Research Institute on May 4.
Over the years, Saori Osaka has been the training ground among Asians wanting to immerse themselves in the weaving therapy, interact with persons with disabilities and learn Japanese culture. It was the first time Saori Osaka invited Saint Francis School to the festival.