My name is Tien Chiu, and I’ve developed a creative process – proven through my own experience and through interviews with 22 master artisans – that you can use to jump-start your journey to mastery in your own craft .
To help you do that, I wrote a book, Master Your Craft: Strategies for Designing, Making, and Selling Artisan Work, and offer coaching services for those who want to progress even faster.
I’m also developing an online class, Journey to Mastery. This course will provide focused, in-depth materials and focused exercises to help you master the art of design, and develop a robust studio practice. If you want me to notify you when the course is released, join my newsletter!
A little more about me
I’m a multimedia textile artist. I design cloth, dye the yarns for it, weave the cloth by hand, embellish it with embroidery, and then sew it into my award-winning textile creations.
I write regularly for several weaving magazines, and my work has been featured on the cover of Handwoven magazine. And I’ve won many prizes for my work, including “Best in Show,” and have a piece in a museum collection.
But the amazing part of my story is that I accomplished all these things within just five years of learning to weave – while holding down a full-time job.
How did I do this?
Obviously, I put in a lot of hard work. But part of it was simply having adopted a revolutionary new creative process that enabled me to learn faster, create better designs, and make the most of my limited studio time.
I had spent twenty years working in the software industry. As a veteran high-tech project manager, I used a handful of basic principles to help my teams design and create complex new products. I selected the ones that might apply to craft, and applied them in my work.
The results were astonishing. Within the first two years of taking up weaving, I had won several awards for my work. My fourth year, I won “Best in Show” at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers for my handwoven, couture-sewn wedding dress, which is now part of the permanent collection at the American Textile History Museum.
And in my fifth year of weaving, my Kodachrome Jacket was featured on the cover of Handwoven magazine.
I couldn’t believe it. In just a few years, I’d gone from laboring my way through simple designs to creating award-winning show pieces. Yes, I’d studied design. Yes, I’d worked hard on developing technical skills. But the pieces I created were far beyond what I’d thought I could do. Suddenly, I could translate my visions into real, tangible creations. Pure magic.
Because so many people asked me how I’d developed my skills so quickly, I decided to write a book about the creative process in craft. I interviewed 22 master artisans in a wide range of fields: Glass artists, ceramicists, woodworkers, textile artists, and metalworkers, among others.
I asked each master artisan about his or her creative process, and discovered that their studio practices paralleled the methods I’d adapted for my own work. I also noticed that their advice to beginning artisans shared many of the same ideas. I took those universal principles and built them into my book Master Your Craft: Strategies for Designing, Making, and Selling Artisan Work.
If, like me, you’ve struggled to create your own designs, suffered repeated disasters in the studio, or feel your work will never meet your hopes and dreams, I have good news for you: There is hope!
If you learn and apply this creative process – proven not just by myself but by many master artisans – you’ll be able to design and create beautiful, original work. But more importantly, I can help you jump-start your skills – leaping from beginner to master in less time than you could have imagined.