"buy fresh. Buy local." Painting of fruit, vegetables and a rooster.

A farmers’ market, a picnic and some wallabies at dusk.

You might be in for a treat—your visit to Shizuka Ryokan may coincide with a local farmers’ market.

Here is a plan: Start the day at Shizuka with a traditional Japanese breakfast then pop down to a farmers’ market to purchase some delicious local provisions. Next take a picnic rug (and some empty bottles for filling) to the Hepburn Mineral Springs and have yourself a picnic. Laze around. Read books. Eat too many olives then retire to Shizuka for a late afternoon nap followed by some pre-dinner drinks on the deck overlooking the wallabies and the currawongs.

The following is a list of farmers’ markets near Shizuka:

1st Saturday of the month

Daylesford Farmers Market

Daylesford Primary School, Vincent Street

9am – 1pm

Woodend Farmers Market

High Street Woodend

9am – 1pm

1st Sunday of the month

Castlemaine Farmers Market

Mostyn St, Castlemaine

9am – 1pm

2nd Saturday of the month

Ballan Farmers Market

96 Inglis St, Ballan

9am – 1pm

Kyneton Farmers Market

St Pauls Park, Piper St, Kyneton

8am – 1pm

2nd Sunday of the month

Clunes Farmers Market

Collins Place & Fraser St

9am – 2pm

3rd Saturday of the month

Trentham Farmers Market

Trentham Town Square, Trentham

9am – 1pm

To learn more visit the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association.

SAORI loom with red thread

SAORI Japanese weaving workshop

Shizuka Ryokan will be rife with creativity and sustainability this November during a three day SAORI Japanese weaving workshop.

The philosophy of SAORI is an interesting one. The word SAORI comes from ‘sai’ meaning individuality, and ‘ori’ meaning weaving. SAORI is markedly different from other forms of hand weaving because the weaver is encouraged to make mistakes. In traditional hand weaving regularity is the law, an irregular thread is considered a mistake. In SAORI things are very different.

SAORI weavers follow four slogans:

1) Consider the differences between a machine and a human being
2) Be bold and adventurous
3) Let’s look out through eyes that shine
4) Inspire one another, and everyone in the group

Japan is renowned for the wabi-sabi philosophy, which can be loosely defined as a world view centered on the acceptance of imperfection. The wabi sabi aesthetic is in evidence at Shizuka Ryokan. For example, upon arrival guests receive green tea in an irregularly shaped Japanese cup. The style of the Japanese pottery is called hagi ware; the cup is rustic and simple looking, with unrefined textures and is beautiful because it is flawed. The philosophy of SAORI weaving is the same. SAORI weavers celebrate the accidents; the unexpected colours and textures.

Misao Jo invented SAORI in the late sixties. She was weaving an obi, a Japanese belt, and found that one of the threads was missing. Looking at the belt she realised that the mistake was pleasing to behold. She showed it to a person running a weaving factory who dismissed it as flawed and worthless but this did not deter Misao who had an inherent sense of the value of the handmade object. She deliberately made a belt with many flaws and showed it to the owner on an obi shop in Osaka who thought it was wonderful. Misao sensed that the aesthetic quality of the flawed obi must be the result of something hidden within herself. She realised that the obi’s beauty was a result of escaping conventional thinking in order to express herself. SAORI weaving was born.

The SAORI workshop at Shizuka will be taught by Prue Simmons, founder of the Dying To Weave SAORI Studio. Prue is one of only three SAORI teachers in Australia. She learned traditional Japanese weaving and natural dye techniques from Toyomi Harada in the mountains of Honshu, Japan. Prue is interested in sustainability, natural dyes, upcycling and environmentally friendly textiles. Prue and her partner run White Stone Farm in Central Victoria. On the farm Prue raises llamas and uses their fleece to weave beautiful pieces.

The SAORI retreat runs Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th November 2017.

Further exploring:

ABC profile of Prue

Video (in Japanese) of SAORI process

Wikipedia explanation of wabi sabi

Writer's Festival August 4-13

Words in Winter

A wonderful writer’s festival is happening right on Shizuka’s doorstep next month. Words in Winter is an annual literary and arts festival held across Daylesford, Trentham, Clunes and Maryborough. This year marks the fifteenth year of Words in Winter with a theme of Origins. Daylesford guests include award-winning author Don Watson, investigative reporter Louise Milligan, human rights advocate Julian Burnside QC, novelist Arnold Zable, local illustrator and children’s author Michelle Pleasance and singer-storyteller Mara Ripani. Accommodation at Shizuka Ryokan during the festival is still available but is booking fast.