Skip to content

Rope Ambassador - Windy Chien

I make sculpture and site-specific installations that elevate the vernacular forms of knots to inspire awe and understanding. To the intersection of function, science, 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 Knots as my ongoing palette, each of my ensuing bodies of work explores a singular, exquisite knot in search of its ultimate expressive potential. The finished works are minimalist, monochromatic rope sculptures that utilize pattern, repetition, and monumental scale to emphasize the poetry of the line. Increasingly, I seek unusual materials to incorporate provenance and metaphor, such as frayed, soiled climbing ropes, decommissioned fire hoses, and seat belt webbing.

I use composition and technique to explore the tension between contrasting ideas, such as in my Circuit Boards series, whose composition evokes male-dominated fields of transit maps and electronics parts via gendered associations with “women’s work”—the skills of macrame, passementerie, weaving. My practice melds art and design, craft and concept, function and aesthetic. 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.

Want to get in contact with Windy regarding the possibility of commissioning her to work on a project?

Favorite Products

Solid Braid MFP


The Year of Knots: Modern Projects, Inspiration, and Creative Reinvention

Windy Chien installing “Knot Expected” at Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, Miami Art Week, Dec 2018 in partnership with Sunbrella