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

Opportunities for the New Year!

Hello! I thought it was time for an update on the many opportunities available in the CGB project in the new year. Please join us, virtually or in person – we love to connect with beaders around the world.

bangle by Pat Verrier, beading from Buckingham, England

Pat Verrier copy


On four days in January, the  7 and 8 (Thursday and Friday) and the 23 and 24 (Saturday and Sunday) I am hosting very small day classes. Come to me in Boston, either in my MIT classroom or in at my place in Central Square (the weather will decide).  These classes are open to all levels, and no MIT affiliation is required. Sign up here, or email me with any questions. I don’t do private classes very often, but I’m really looking forward to these. Lunch and materials included, this is really a neat chance.


I’m excited to be teaching the CGB work at the January IAP (Independent Activities Period) at MIT this January – this is something MIT started in the ’60s, and it was fairly revolutionary at the time. It’s a fun month-long (and completely optional) term where students, faculty, or anyone in the MIT community can participate in classes, seminars and lectures for fun or for credit. Most things are completely free, and yup I’m donating my time for the privilege of participating. This year, I’m not teaching anything for credit, but next year, I think I’ll plan to do some serious edge modelling for them and set up at least one for-credit course.

While these classes are MIT-only, there are opportunities for other types of participation; I can bring assistants and collaborators, and so if you are involved in the CGB project, and you would like to be a part of the MIT fun, please email me. I can absolutely arrange for you to get in on the games. This experience will be quite different from the private classes; these are classroom lectures with demos, and very little hands-on work with individuals.

Kate in the MIT Stata Center

My faculty sponsor for the session is Dr. Erik Demaine, a computer science prof and a computational origami wizard, and it’s co-sponsored by the amazing Martin Demaine, artist-in-residence at CSAIL, the AI and robotics lab.  More info and a full schedule here.


There are THREE books on the CGB layout table right now, the CGB Pattern Book, the CGB Colouring Book, and Volume III of my Explorer’s Guides. The Pattern Book is being made with Dustin Wedekind and Kim Van Antwerp, and the Colouring Book is being made with that crew, and the addition of Karen Beningfield, drawing and beading from Capetown, South Africa. Volume III will be my book, and it’s coming last of the three.

We welcome and are deeply grateful for your pre-orders for the books (these are actually what are fueling 100% of the new work right now) and of course your beady submissions. The Pattern Book is ALL ABOUT Exploding Sets and working with new, simple starts, so if you want to submit to that book, get busy with your Exploding SetsWarped Squares, Triangles, and Pentagons are all welcome. CGB Volume III will encompass the whole universe of techniques for making, cloning, designing and sizing. Each of these books are available for pre-order in our Web Shop.

The next photoshoots (model and studio) will be done over the months of February and March, in Tucson, Arizona. Please see the submission guidelines in the left sidebar for instructions on how to send work in for review. It would be a good idea to get your pieces to Tucson by February 1 if you want model shots.


I’ve been thinking about a museum exhibit, one that I want to travel a bit, but the question has been where to start. After some thought, I think the choice is obvious; I am going to make a glorious costume-based exhibit of our work for the Met in NYC.

It will take a couple of years to put it together, so you have time to plan to participate. All aspects of costumery are interesting, and the standards of workmanship will be extremely high; no purchased components, you know. Serious, completely handmade work.

Ideally pieces should be self-supporting, or if built onto something else, that something should be integral, not random. Pieces should not be unwieldy; the exhibit will travel (or some wieldy subset of it will). There is room for more at the Met than there will be in the travel-trunk. Big ideas are welcome for NYC.

If you have ideas that are beyond your own scope, fear not. We have teams and crews, and we will even have materials grants available once the exhibit takes a more solid form. I won’t start getting serious about this until fall of 2016, when all three of the new books are out.

The Met already has work by Martin and Erik in their permanent collection, so I thought it might be a neat plan to incorporate some of their astonishing origami forms into our conceptions, many of which behave surprisingly (or not) like our beadwork.

Self-folding origami by Erik and Martin Demaine

I can easily imagine creating collars, breastpieces, hats with these edge ideas; I mean, already, we see this behavior in our pieces, the self-folding.



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.

One comment on “Opportunities for the New Year!

  1. Sandra Boyer
    December 25, 2015

    Sounds like you’ve got it under control, kudos 🙂

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2015 by .
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