An exploration of fiber, art, and expression of the soul.
Rhiannon Griego joins CARAVANA Freethinkers 2021 Edition as a creative medium whose hands have found inspiration in weaving and jewelry designing. A native to the connection felt between humans and nature, the natural world is what she’s tapped into through her exploration of fiber, art, and expression of the soul.
Rhiannon has utilized the Wabi-Sabi techniques of Saori weaving, and her own innate creative force to make sense of the universe through art and textiles. She weaves a world that echoes the times of indigenous artistry, spirituality, and worship of our planet; this is felt and seen through her creations and speaks to the soul of CARAVANA. For this, we welcome her as a beloved sister to the Freethinkers Program.
What elements of Saori weaving first inspired you to explore this textile art form? What coaxed me into Saori so easily is one of its principles: There are no mistakes and everything that happens on the loom is intended to be. It’s in alignment with the perspective I hold in my life and for the vision of my artwork.
How do you incorporate the art of Saori freeform weaving or elements of Japanese traditions into your personal spiritual practice? Or, what other spiritual cultures are you drawn to? Touching back in on the philosophies of Saori, they are quite relatable to the way I walk in the world. “There are no mistakes, everything is intended to be.” “Consider the difference between machine-made and hand-made.” There is a significant difference between objects that are mass-produced and objects of art that are made with the hand; there is a transference of energy, of spirit that is woven into each one of my textiles. Like everything in my life, I hold an intention, an arrow if you will towards that intention and move with grace towards it. The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi is rooted in my being and I abide by it as a spiritual principle. I find beauty in the perfectly imperfect this life offers and that in essence is what allows me to be fluid, flexible, and open to the magic of this life. My spiritual and art practice are one and the same; they are not separate from one another so the process of creating beauty in this lifetime is hand in hand with walking in a beautiful way on this Earth, aware, mindful, respectful, and acknowledging each and every thread that connects to the web from a different direction is sacred.
What has been a part of your journey of bringing awareness of Saori weaving, and the other mediums of your artistic expression, to our Western society, that you’d like to share? Challenges, or inspirations that have come to you. I work in different mediums every few years and the main focus of what is to encourage my audience is to remember how we used to do things, what our relationship to the natural world used to be in accordance with harmony and reciprocity. Through the process of handmade, handwoven, I am articulating the story of origin, myth, and respect for the Earth in the way that I understand it. If we could all slow down, breathe, respect time instead of feeling as if we are always running out of it, the more enhancement and pleasure we can experience. I want my clients and collectors to take an interest in the regenerative hemp movement, I want them to hold curiosity when they are outside and admire the natural sources of fiber in a new way.
“There are no mistakes, everything is intended to be.”
What we wear is an expression of our soul, of its vibrancy and I treat clothing like everyday art.
In a culture where fast fashion is so predominant, what are some of the most beautiful things to you about creating wearable art that has roots in culture and in spirituality?Saori arose from a broken thread in an obi (Japanese belt) and a new legacy of free-form weaving was born. Consumers have the opportunity to reconsider how they want to shop, which objects of art they would like to invest in, and reconsider the power in handmade artwork. Saori has gifted me the skill, moving meditation and philosophies to fundamentally create something out of nothing with an empowered direction. Weaving is one of the oldest art forms and I have the opportunity to reinvigorate the collective memory on what it is like to wear something handmade by someone’s hands, in countless hours, imbued with good energy. The fashion industry has spawned decades of fantastical design and spectacles of fabulous visual art that I will always find meaningful and instrumental in the expression of the self through clothing; to that, I am grateful. Saori teaches me to slow, to weave with mindfulness, to find curiosity within the Japanese culture and its precision of design that carries much elegance. What we wear is an expression of our soul, of its vibrancy and I treat clothing like everyday art.
What was your most fulfilling or memorable collaboration with other creatives, and why?There have been many but the most recent one is with a photographer friend of mine who visited from New York. After spending some uncomfortable moments transitioning to my new home in New Mexico, a warm, familiar heart was quite welcomed. We spent days adventuring into the diverse landscapes to shoot a film together, to climb sand dunes with a pink sunset setting above us, and relish in good company in majestic lands. New Mexico has always been home for my soul and to have made the transition to be here permanently emanates sunshine from the heart of my being; to share this with kindred spirits is a good life. As an artist, I love the opportunity to be amongst creatives at all turns, allowing the fluidity and joy of connection to unfold into something that reflects the play.
Imagine you’re speaking to an individual who knows little about mindful, conscious art and fashion: how would you express to them why supporting creatives and honest brands like yours is a step in the right direction? Supporting creatives who are actively outpouring meaningful and mindful artwork is a positive step in caring for our Earth. It’s a small step but it’s comparable to the shift in nurturing the body with organic food in comparison to GMO. What we chose to put into our bodies, cloak them with, and visually stimulate our minds helps amplify a higher vibration for our world. As a small designer, artist and businesswoman, I recognize the power I have to inspire this shift in consumer habits. There is a difference in value between excessively consuming garments made by unhappy people in poor work conditions that are mass-produced and working with brands that are empowering communities with high living wages, natural dyes, and recycled materials. The cost may be higher but it elevates the spirit of the artisans, their own livelihoods, and through sustainable practices, the environment around them. We are in a time where everyone needs to do their part so finding voices that keep a larger ripple effect in mind is an empowering one.