As the new year begins, fiber artist Windy Chien is tying up loose ends — literally. Her creative project — The Year of Knots — is garnering a lot of buzz in the crafting community, in which she documents her daily macrame knots.
"When I started the #yearofknots, I had no idea that the way I store the completed pieces would itself become a thing," she says on Instagram. "The #knotwall is so big now that I am running out of space for it!"
And what a marvel her knot wall is to behold. Windy says that creating daily knots enriches her life in many areas such as bliss, adventure, historic references, and self-discovery.
Chien grew up in Hawaii and went on to have a successful career in the music and technology industry. For 14 years, Windy was the owner and force behind her record label, Aquarius Records; and later went on to assist Apple with the development of iTunes and Apple's App Store. It's a pretty impressive career trajectory by anyone's standards, but where does the #YearofKnots fit into her story?
That's when she decided to take a leap of creative faith. She quit her job to pursue her creative calling. "I longed to explore my own creativity," she says. "Leaving Apple meant giving myself permission to forgo security: the security of the fancy paycheck, prestigious job, approval of family, friends, and society. Scary. But I did it."
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"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time." - Mary Oliver via Brainpickings // Four Single-Loop Knots made when I thought I "didn't have time." . . #yearofknots #knotaday #windychienmacrame #macrame #knot #rope #modernmacrame #dsshapes #dswhite #fiberart #knotart #singleloopknot #loopknot
"A year-long commitment to your creativity is actually not scary," she says. "The daily act keeps you in beginners mind, open and free, and you look forward to it."
My obsession with precision was not served in making this Fourfold Overhand Knot Net. Keeping the interstitial lines even is difficult and the results aren't as beautiful as the tightly-bound knots I prefer. #yearofknots #knotaday #windychienmacrame #macrame #knot #rope #modernmacrame #dsshapes #dswhite #fiberart #knotart #net #multipleoverhandknot
Her collection is displayed in a gallery wall of sorts that she lovingly refers to as the "knot wall." The knots as Windy refers to them are like ''learning a new language'' and without delay, she learns a new knot every day. "Every day, I give myself permission to say that creativity is the most important thing," she says. "And every day, without fail, I make and learn a new knot."
"Traditional macrame uses too few knot types, which is unnecessarily limiting," she says. "By expanding my knot toolbox, I developed a broad palette and my own voice."
But to Chien, these knots mean more to her than simply fastening ropes together based on nautical references and instructions — they are a daily reminder that she took a chance to pursue something that would make her happy. "It has been a journey of giving myself permission to leave an identity," she says, "To forgo security. And to allow myself, every day, to focus on creativity."
You can follow along Chien's journey on Instagram via #Yearof Knots.
Feeling inspired? Use braiding techniques to make a thread-wrapped bracelet: