Studio Visit: Windy Chien

There's no denying the positive, feel-good vibes at artist Windy Chien's studio. I felt it almost immediately upon stepping into her creative space, where an entire year's worth of handmade knots cover the walls, in-progress architectural macramé art suspends from racks and piles of rope spill over a plethora of baskets. And upon learning more about Windy's background and her passion for her craft, I found myself walking out of her San Francisco studio on an inspirational high. Her story is fascinating. After working in the music record industry for 14 years, starting in the 90s, Windy left to start a career at Apple to help develop products for iTunes. Over time, she began to feel the urge to nurture her own creativity. So she left her corporate job and pursued her love of woodworking and macramé and thus began her next chapter, as a woodworker and fiber artist. In 2016, she committed herself to creating a knot everyday for 365 days - an impressive challenge she completed over the span of a year and has on display in her studio, which now doubles as a handy reference guide. Today, she's focusing mostly on large scale macramé projects, some of which have been commissioned by private residences, hotels and restaurants all over the country, and is continuing to teach herself different knotting patterns and techniques. The level of curiosity and intuition she's driven by is admirable and inspiring. So pure and unadulterated . . . a true artist, indeed.


What are you currently inspired by?

 I find endless inspiration in seeing knots in use in daily life. I recently sailed the Amalfi Cost, and seeing knots used on board the boat was so refreshing to me, since my art regards functional knots for their aesthetic qualities. When I see, for example, the Halyard Hitch actually hauling sail up a mast, that’s inspiring. When I see fishing boat fenders covered in rope, or the ingenuity of a huge, spliced hawser line, I’m inspired.
I’m also inspired by the concept of the journey and story. I’ve always been that way. My favorite songs all start in one place and take you on a trip to end in another place entirely (example: the Aphex Twin’s “Girl/Boy”). So too with the NYC subway map designed by the genius Massimo Vignelli in the early 1970s. Watching the journey of a line (representing a train and people) as it travels from A to B to Z adds up to an experience. Try it with my Circuit Board and Diamond Ring pieces. Pick one end of a line and follow it through the piece. That’s my idea of fun.

What can't you live without?

Sharp scissors.


What's your biggest pet peeve?

Dull scissors.


What excites you?

Learning a new knot, and figuring out what art I’m going to make with it.

What advice do you have to give to anyone who wants to pursue an artistic path?

Make sure you love every part of the process of the thing that you do. If you only love the end result, but dislike the process of getting there, you’re not going to want to do it every day. Pursue the things you love to do relentlessly, and one day you’ll realize your life is want you always wanted it to be.


What's in store for you in 2018?

I’m finishing a book manuscript about the Year of Knots, traveling to France to meet my favorite artist Janet Echelman, and debuting a new body of work at National Geographic headquarters in Washington DC.


photography by Andrea Posadas for HonestlyWTF

Leave a Comment


  1. Michelle wrote:

    What a beuatiful space, I could spend hours looking around!

  2. Rena wrote:

    Wow, what she’s creating is amazing!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

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  4. Sue Ann Simon wrote:

    Fascinating!!! Love it!!!