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

Touching down in Tucson

It’s been a busy time for the project, having had the fourth official Seed Bead Summit in Boston, a talk and a writing binge in New York, and all of the work in progress cascading forward for the the upcoming CGB Pattern Book and the Colouring Book.

Here is a neat Casting Model that is in process for the Pattern Book. I’ll show you how it works soon. But basically I can start a new piece off of any edge and it will fit me in some crucial way, because the model fits me. This is a big deal, casting off Winged and Rick-Rack forms to size, without any counting.

Casting Model Six views

Just for fun, this one will come apart into something like 8 separate, finished, useful pieces. So far, I’ve used Exploding Rounds, Disappearing Ornaments, and Dissolving Suture. But it’s possible I may have more up my sleeve. I presume that will be the first to know if I do, but even that is not sure.

The Colouring Book will have surprising starts and some really solid magic tricks in it.The two books will go to press at the same time, ideally, and are for sale separately or as a set of two. Our amazing pre-order special of two-for-one (!) ended in October, and has been replaced by a $10 savings on the bundle. Just choose “bundle” from the drop-down menu for either item.

The upcoming classes in Boston (Jan 7-8 and Jan 23-24) are filling up fast. Please let me know if you want me to save you a space.

Dustin Wedekind and I are working on the basic forms for the Pattern Book, and it’s beautiful to still be on the basics. We continue to have questions about the simple peyote triangle, about the Warped Square, and we are continuing to make stacks of them.Warped Square web

We even have questions remaining about how to divide a line evenly into points or sections, if you can imagine that. What could be simpler? 88/11=8. Isn’t that all we need to know to create an 8-wing, with peaks that are 5 beads per side? Theoretically, yes. But the more we know, the less we know. We must keep asking questions so that we can answer them intelligently.

Regarding our upcoming January in Boston, I was happy to see that we have a lot of overlap with the folding algorithms of computational origami. We are exploring a lot of those ideas in beads so that we will be more ready to plunder the magical world of Erik and Martin Demaine at MIT. Happily there is already a lot of overlap; as anyone can see, this is a Warped Square.

Erik Demaine holding a folded paper Warped Square

We have about ten full Pattern Book Colourway Kits left to claim before shipping – all of the beads are arriving this week and the kits will ship out ahead of schedule (we had planned to ship December 4).

After we make the full kits, we are going to begin packaging smaller kits with about a dozen colours each. They will come in adorable containers, and arrive with a sample Colour Study and a pattern showing one or more ways to use them together in an Exploding Set, for something like $75 each, depending on how many tubes of beads are included. The first ones are coming in December, shipped in zippy little Electrical Bananas. Subscribe to our Shop if you want it to let you know when the new things are available for sale.

Self-folding origami by Erik and Martin Demaine

Above, self-folding origami sculpture by Erik and Martin Demaine, MIT. Haven’t we all felt our geometric beadwork assert itself like this? Things fall into spirals of triangles, stacks of squares, piles of curves.

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.

2 comments on “Touching down in Tucson

  1. Patricia Wren
    November 17, 2015

    OMG… I can see it now, making TWO of everything because the Casting Model is so gorgeous it needs to be kept— and then the Cast-Offs from it. Hold onto one of those kits for me for another day or two… will order then. Hope you still have one available by the time you read this!!

    Have had a lot of negative things happening in my life recently and this is sure a day/week/month brightener. Am so looking forward to this new wave of work.

  2. Sandra Boyer
    November 17, 2015

    I continue to be amazed, truly.

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