an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators

Just to put you in the picture…

A Message From Our Founder
Kate McKinnon, photo by Doriot Lair, 2013

What an exciting time this is for us here at CGB headquarters.

In a way, I’m the only one here. I’ve done almost all of the photography, all of the layout, most of the writing, much of the editing, and I managed the press run, the distribution, and have done all of the work on this web site and our Facebook page. I answer all of the email, most of the questions, curate the photo library, moderate the comments, and have managed the flow of beadwork and communication all over the planet; it’s been a full-time job (paying somewhat less than minimum wage) for two years. From time to time, as you might imagine, I got swamped.

I had some practical help; I don’t draw (or use, or think in) patterns.  CGB Volume I  illustrations were done by Dustin Wedekind, Jean Power, and Christina Vandervlist. Christina will likely be doing all of them for CGB Volume II. Francesca Watson will repeat her very useful Bead Number Table, with a colour photograph and number of (to the best of  our ability) every bead used in the book. The Mighty Edit Team, a group of stunningly literate individuals who edited Volume I on a volunteer basis, are back on board for Volume II, bless them.

Work in progress here in Tucson includes the final layout on the CGB Souvenir Calendar (for which all models and assistants and Kyle Cassidy, our rock star photographer, donated their time, and which pays for the many, many copies that I donate to libraries, bead societies, and public schools), Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Volume II, and the App version of our eBook, which I personally think will be the real world of this project, the thing that lasts, the thing that people will use not only for reference but to get new updates.

I am doing each of these things alone, in my own studio, with a four year old MacBook Pro and an IPhone on a tripod.
pagoda-underskirts, beadwork and photo by Kate McKinnnon, CGB Vol II, 2013
I just want you to have the picture here. Shipping from the dining room, photography from the bedroom window, layout from the garden, or perched legs-out on my bed, looking out at the birdies, with my laptop on my lap, I am doing these things. So it’s very hard to predict exactly when they will be done, how they will go, and how many people they will involve.

In another way, I’m one of many, and am only one piece of the puzzle, like a catalyst, in a chain of ideas and beady visions that go both back and forward in time. I was inspired by Jean Power, and I started this project. Dustin, Gabriella van Diepen, Christina and I made original work, and we inspired and photographed not only interpretations of our own designs, but other original work; the book is now spreading like wildfire and people all over are riffing, exploring, experimenting, sending or not sending in photos and links. (Send them!)

The general hoped-for schedule of delivery for the Calendar is the end of May, for Volume II, the end of the year, and for the first issue of the App late summer. It’s hard to say exactly when things will happen, but the simple answer is that things will finish up when they are done, and done well. I am so pleased that I didn’t release Volume I last September, but instead spent the extra six months making it sing; I’ll feel exactly the same if any of the three things in process take longer than I think or hope that they will.

Your pre-orders of our work in progress are like the publisher’s advance that makes them happen; they allow me to publish my own work and do things that I think that we all dig, like:

Spiral Binding
Creative use of language and general chatty tone
An idea-based book that encourages exploration rather than a recipe book
NOT printing in China
NOT underselling book and bead shops on Amazon

These are all important things. And I can’t do them without you. But I also can’t do them any faster than I can do them. I have to allow for happenstance, for side explorations, for the ideas to have time to fully flower before they are cut, and printed.

So- please, yes, support the work. Word of mouth has been absolutely the only engine that has brought us to this point. I am trying to keep the project small enough to finish; I am not looking for a bestseller, I am looking for a full exploration, for the chance to do really deep work, but be small enough not to need a staff. So don’t be attached to the when, but instead, join us, and simply play, work, share, and help us grow the work in progress as a community.

There is no formal schedule for updates to the Specials page; when we have a new idea ready, we’ll present it. In the meantime, there is so much already on the table to explore; we urge and encourage you to do just that.

Please subscribe to this blog (link in the upper right corner) if you would like updates in your email- you’ll never miss a trick. We also welcome you to our Facebook page, where you will find a growing library of video shorts. If you’d like to request a specific technique for a video, leave a comment. If you’d like to reach us on a personal matter, such as shipping, please use the email. I can be reached quite easily at all times.

If you have work you’d like us to see, email a web-sized shot to me. If you have a link to a review, or your blog, or anything else you want to share with the community, leave it in a blog or a Facebook comment. If you post a photograph of work inspired by our book, or our new explorations, please tag or credit your photos or posts so that people know it is part of or inspired by our project.

This is truly an open-source project, and like any movie, book, or adventure, it definitely needs funding. So yes. Pre-order. Order. Spread the word, spread the links. We appreciate it, hugely, and it is what allows me to keep working, full time, on this exciting and fulfilling world that we are building.


Kim van Antwerp, flying ring, CGB Vol II

Photos: Top, Kate McKinnon by Doriot Lair, middle, Pagoda Bangle by Kate, bottom, Kim van Antwerp, Flying Five-Wing Ring

About katemckinnon

Kate McKinnon has devoted herself to the study of how things are done, and how they could be done better. Find her at or on some city street, walking fast, smiling at strangers.

6 comments on “Just to put you in the picture…

  1. lisa
    April 20, 2013

    Your smiling face in another place.

  2. Jennifer Lane
    April 18, 2013

    It’s a wonderful book, Kate, and I love every page. Whenever the next volume is ready, that will be fine. Many best wishes from Australia!

  3. Jane Penrose
    April 18, 2013

    A true labor of love.

  4. katemckinnon
    April 18, 2013

    Reblogged this on Kate McKinnon and commented:

    A comprehensive post that explains both the scope of our growing project, and the delivery schedule…

  5. BarbaraBriggsDesigns
    April 18, 2013

    Kate, take all the time you need. There will be some who will press for the “when”, but you have stated clearly over and over again that it will happen when it’s finished. For me, half the joy and excitement is the anticipation. The day after Christmas or any special occasion, for that matter, is hardly as exciting as the days leading up to the event. Volume II will be superb, and definitely the gift that keeps on giving, just as Volume I has been. But taking your time to make it as special as it can possibly be is so worth the wait!

    • katemckinnon
      April 18, 2013

      Oh, I plan to, but it’s good to explain. I get a lot of emails, “When will the Specials page update” or “Why haven’t I had email updates” or “Will Volume II be any different than Volume I”, or “When will the eBook be out” and it takes a lot of time to answer them. I wanted a post I could simply copy and paste for the Future.

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2013 by .
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