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 majestic, 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 IBM, the National Geographic Society, 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.
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Next, Windy describes her professional transition from the music industry to the tech industry and going to work at Apple to help build iTunes and, later, the app store. We talk about the idea of being a curator and about creating immersive environments, both lessons she learned from these past careers that she’s brought forward into her current work.
When she left Apple Windy spent time exploring her own creativity. She explains how she saved enough money to spend a year figuring out what kind of art really spoke to her and how she found knot-making.
Next, we talk in-depth about The Year of Knots, both the daily practice as well as the book. Windy talks about how she set up the rules for the project, how she realized it would become an art installation, the importance of sharing it on Instagram, and how she ended up installing a first edition of the work at Facebook’s headquarters.
Finally, we talk about why Windy has hired a PR firm to help get the word out about her work and how effective it’s been. I also ask Windy to talk about her personal style as well as why she still lives in the Mission District of San Francisco and how its changed over the 30 years she’s been there.
And, of course, I ask Windy to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Windy recommends: