We first met Windy Chien in San Francisco at our first pop-up at Abacus Row in 2019. Her radiant energy was inspiring and comforting. We were so entranced by her stories full of adventure, discovery, and richness. From her cycling throughout Vietnam (goals!!), to her impeccable music taste and curation at her record shop in San Francisco, to her leadership with building iTunes. She’s done so much, and continues to offer so much more through her art of knotting.
Here’s a photo series from a studio visit with Windy Chien - a beautiful studio full of curiosities, creations and craft.
p.s. The Kaarem team have been making knots from Windy’s book, The Year of Knots, as a fun activity in the studio.
About Windy Chien
Artist Windy Chien is best known for her 2016 work, The Year of Knots, in which she learned a new knot every day for a year. Her work ranges in size from a knot that can fit in the palm of a child's hand to room-sized installations that are sought after by private collectors. Following long careers at Apple and as owner of legendary music shop Aquarius Records, she launched her studio in 2015. Select clients include the National Geographic Society, Nobu Hotels, IBM, Google, and the Kering Group, and her work has been covered by Wired, The New York Times and Martha Stewart. Windy’s book about her work was published by Abrams in 2019.
Windy Chien's Artist Statement
I make sculpture and site-specific installations that elevate the vernacular forms of knots to inspire awe and understanding. To the intersection of function, mathematics, and history where knots reside, I introduce aesthetics to illuminate what’s most fascinating about them: the journey of the line.
Knots are artifacts of human ingenuity: an ancient technology predating the wheel and use of fire. Knots manifest tension, direction of pull, forces working in harmony and in opposition. Examining these empirical aspects, I consider their physical function, cultural significance, and aesthetic value. I gave myself an assignment to learn a new knot —out of the almost 4,000 documented— every day for one year, creating The Year of Knots (2016). As I sought fluency, I came to recognize knotting as a universal language spoken across oceans, centuries, genders, and occupations.
Drawing from The Year of KnotsCircuit Boards series, which contrast male-dominated tech world motifs via gendered skills of so-called “women’s work”—the crafts of macrame, passementerie, weaving.
My practice melds art with craft, aesthetic with function. While the output is often beautiful, this quality is intended to draw the viewer in and provoke awareness of the concepts behind the visual harmony: a deeper clarity of looking.
Windy Chien Studio
San Francisco, CA
Kathy Minh Bach