Chiaki O'Brien | Visual Arts

Chiaki is weaving.jpg
Chiaki is weaving.jpg

Chiaki O'Brien | Visual Arts


I am originally from Japan and so is SAORI Weaving. This modern Japanese weaving style traveled along with me when I came to the United States in 2004. Since then, I’ve been having so much fun introducing this positive weaving artform to many people at various sites, ranging from small children to older adults.

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SAORI is a way of self-expression through weaving. Showing yourself in your piece tells the world, “I’m different from everyone!” I create an environment in which the weavers can relax, explore, have fun, and be inspired by each other. 

SAORI allows you to explore, to have the freedom to choose colors and textures while creating, and much more! It is you expressing yourself on a loom, without worrying about anyone criticizing what you do! There are no textbooks or samples to copy. SAORI is the opportunity to enjoy the moment of weaving with colors and textures!

A main point to convey to students is that they have the answers. When a weaver gets stuck while weaving … my job is not to help right away. Even though I am an instructor, it doesn't mean that I have the right answer to solve the problem. The students themselves have the right answer within. And when the weaver solves the problem without help, that makes the weaver much happier than if someone told them what to do. Isn’t this true in our own lives? Of course, I will join students in brainstorming solutions and will offer ideas as needed.

I have taught in a variety of settings since moving from Japan to Minnesota. I have carried out school residencies, as well as workshops at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, senior citizens' facilities, fiber-related festivals, and at the Minnesota Textile Center, among other venues.

I will bring looms that are all set up and ready for everyone to weave, making them weaver-friendly. Each person can explore and figure things out, plus I will be there to get the process started, and to facilitate. The point is that while developing skills and enjoying the SAORI weaving process, the instructor and the weavers learn to respect and admire everyone’s work in a creative, art producing experience that promotes exploration and self-discovery.

Sample Programs: Customizable To Site’s Needs


Joy of Exploration: SAORI Weaving

SAORI Weaving provides the opportunity of freedom. Freedom to choose colors and textures while creating, to explore and much more! Chiaki will provide SAORI looms for the students to work on and she will facilitate and encourage students as they develop skills and enjoy SAORI Weaving process. The aim of the workshop is for students to create one-of-a-kind piece of woven art!

Limited to 9 participants.



Bengala Soil Dyeing

In two hours, participants can dye a scarf or two, choosing from among 12 natural colors. This ancient dyeing process involves kneading, providing exercise to hands and fingers. Participants also enjoy the bright natural colors of Mother Earth coming from Bengali soil and create surprising designs on scarves they can keep or give as gifts.

Limited to 10 participants.