CYC AIR: Happy Place With Molly Sydnor

Imagine walking into a colorfully immersive environment made entirely of fiber, exploding with vibrancy and texture. As you walk from room to room, new adventures await you in art installations you can’t help but sink your hands, and mind, into. 

The Craft Yarn Council is excited to announce a new partnership with Dallas’ premiere experiential art exhibit, Sweet Tooth Hotel, to bring an immersive fiber experience to audiences across the country. The new installation, titled “Intangible,” opened June 2020. 

“Intangible” showcases an all-female lineup of some of the top fiber artists from around the United States, including yarn-bomb extraordinaire London Kaye (Los Angeles, CA), Fiber Artist Niki Dionne (Dallas, TX), Muralist and Illustrator Alli Koch (Dallas, TX), Fiber Artist Jackie Lawrence (Denton, TX), Installation Fiber Artist and Yarn Bomber Hannah Busekrus (Austin, TX), Crochet Designer Twinkie Chan (San Francisco, CA), Textile Designer Molly Sydnor (Dallas, TX), Dallas Yarn Bomber Co-Founder Sally Ackerman (Dallas, TX), Knit Artist Joanna Lin (Dallas, TX) and Embroidery Artist Kara Herman (Denton, TX). Each artist has been given a dedicated space to create their own whimsical world completely made from fiber and are the first cohort for CYC AIR (Craft Yarn Council Artist-In-Residence program). 

Since each of the artists used large quantities of yarn for their installs, we wanted to do a special series of Happy Place blog posts to dive into how each of them stored and organized their yarn. Read on for our CYC AIR Happy Place with Molly Sydnor, aka @mollymargaretdesigner! Molly is a multidisciplinary artist, graduate of the Maryland Institute of Art's Fiber program, and a queer biracial black woman! 



How many skeins of yarn did you receive for your Sweet Tooth Hotel installation?

TOO MANY TO COUNT!!! I ended up using over 1,000.


What brand and fiber content did you use in your installation?

I used both Lion Brand and Red Heart yarns. I also used found and recycled yarn, as well as recycled solution dyed acrylic from work!


What colors did you use for your installation?

My install is a rainbow. I tried to narrow down the colors into a mood board and color story. In the end it just turned into every color. However, there is a heavy focus on greens, and all of the colors are grouped into sections.



What system did you use to organize your CYC AIR yarn for Sweet Tooth Hotel?

I divided the yarn by color. I weaved and tufted based on that so I think I stuck with the color system.


What furniture or storage systems did you use to organize the yarn you received?

I have these massive book shelves in my place that I'm dying to take out. Before I pursue construction on my house (and after Sweet Tooth), I have taken everything off these shelves and designated them to my yarn. The yarn will be gone by the time I'm ready to tear them down so in the meantime, it's a perfect solution!


Do you or have you ever found it difficult to manage or organize your yarn?

I've always found it difficult to organize any studio. My problem is if it's not in my sight, I won't work on it. Can you imagine getting out a bin to work on an art project and then cleaning it up and putting it away before it's done? Well I can't imagine that...every time I've done that, the project goes unfinished. Knowing Sweet Tooth was going to be my main focus for a few months, I needed the yarn to be in my sight and in the open. Luckily, my house is more or less decorated as rainbows and bright colors, so two giant shelves full of rainbow yarn fits right in with the space.



Knowing the amount of yarn you were going to receive, how did you find an organization system that worked for you?

I figured this system out after the yarn came. It was far too much material to put anywhere except out in the open. I needed to pull from it every time I worked, so it only made sense to go in my work space. While I worked, my loom was in the dining area. We moved the kitchen table outside! The yarn was on the bookshelves that separate the dining area from the living room. It was all on top of each other, but I think it was creatively cozy!


How do you like to de-stash?

I make new projects to de-stash. A lot of my weaving takes up lots of material, so the more the merrier! I've started using some yarn in my paintings as well. I've also been working on a couple large community weave projects with my Adult-Like series. Spare yarn always comes in handy for this!


Do you work in the same space where your yarn is stored? Why or why not?

Yes. I have to work in the same space as the yarn because I'm always pulling and playing and exploring. My craft is almost never fully planned out before I begin. That being said, I need room to explore. If my materials are not in from of me, how can I explore them?



How important is a well-organized yarn corner/office to your mental wellbeing?

I have pretty bad anxiety. The more projects I have and the bigger the mess, the more anxious I am. I usually have a decent base organization and then as I work, it becomes cluttered. I have to take moments to reorganize and clean the studio before I can start working again. That usually feels like a new start or fresh eyes looking at my crime scene of a studio!


Where did you purchase everything shown in the photos you submitted?   

Lucky me, I did not purchase my shelving. I did, however, have to reorganize all of my books into new spots and I got that shelving from Home Depot. I also bought bins and storage for all of my other Sweet Tooth non-yarn supplies and that also came from Home Depot.


Share any tips or advice you have for someone who is trying to reorganize their stash.

I would definitely recommend organizing by color. That way you know what you have and how much of each! I also recommend actually organizing it. It truly makes all the difference!


Cover photo courtesy of TA Visuals. All other photos courtesy of Molly Sydnor.