Member Spotlight: Lyn Christiansen

Lyn Christiansen is an artist based in Boston, Massachusetts.  Her kumihimo based artworks combines braids using a wide range of materials in wall hangings, 3D compositions, and wearables. In 2016, she curated and exhibited in “Twisted Again: The New Kumihimo”, an international group show at Lasell College in Newton, MA, featuring innovators using Kumihimo techniques. Her work is shown widely, most recently at the 2016 juried Small Expressions show at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She also works in stone & glass mosaic, exhibiting and teaching at The Fuller Craft Museum.  She is a retired teacher of innovation, entrepreneurship, & strategy, having served on the faculties of Harvard and Boston Universities.

Lyn and I first met while teaching in Manchester, England at Braids 2012.   While exchanging ideas I was reminded of a quote by Deepak Chopra “instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box” as that seemed to be Lyn’s approach to kumihimo.  Her class at the AKS Gathering will be taught on her Shikakudai, a modified version of a marudai, a perfect example of Lyn’s ingenuity.

What is a Shikakudai?
Lynn says the shikakudai was conceived as an easy way to make complex flat braids on the marudai.  Lynn is fortunate to have a well equiped artist studio as well as a complete woodworking set-up which gives her the ability, with the help of her husband, to design her own modified kumihimo equipment.

Lyn’s inspiration for the Shikakudai
“There are many beautiful flat braids designed for 24 or more bobbins/tama on a marudai.  But the logistics of making them well can be difficult because of the need for precise tensioning, problems with slippage on the stand, and keeping large numbers of bobbins/tama organized.  In 1999 when I was first learning to braid, I devised a square top with a hole wider than deep to make these complex flat braids.  I call it a Shikakudai or 4-sided stand.  It makes it much easier to do 24 plus bobbin/tama braids with all of the advantages of a marudai, but fewer of the downsides.

It can also be used to make braids described for the square foam Kumihimo plate but with more weight and tension control.  In the class, we will use the shikakudai to explore flat braids starting with the classic sasanami (ripples) braid and on to more complex options depending on the group’s interests and ability.”

AKS Gathering Class – Friday, October 20th:  Interlacing Flat Braids on a (Modified) Marudai
Lyn is providing a class kit for $40 which includes:  A new top for student’s marudai, bamboo yarn, and 2 special weight bag fasteners made for this application.
Student Equipment: Marudai, 24 tama/bobbins preferably 70 or 75 gram, and 50% counterweights.
Skill Level – Intermediate: Experience with the marudai but not necessarily flat braids.

Teacher Profile by Adrienne Gaskell, AKS President