Q&A with Architectural Designer and Artist Maya Lin

Q&A with Architectural Designer and Artist Maya Lin

By Amanda Dameron
The artist, designer, and architect takes us through her formative years as a maker, her dedication to environmental art, and the joys of furniture design.

You grew up in the college town of Athens, Ohio. How did your hometown contribute to your creative life?
My mother was an English and Asian literature professor, and my dad started in ceramics at Ohio University. So my brother and I would get out of school, and we would go to my dad’s studio and wait until he got off work—which meant my brother and I played with clay our entire childhoods. Even when I got to undergrad, I was making these crazy architectural works carved out of clay, and people thought I was being provocative, but I wasn’t!

So you’ve had a long career as a hands-on maker?
That’s the way I grew up. My dad made all the pots that we ate out of every day; he made a lot of our furniture. So there wasn’t a distinction between craft and high fine arts. I grew up where it was all blurred, and part of me is still my father’s daughter. I’m coming out of almost a craftsman aesthetic.

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