an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
Time for a progress update. In production: The CGB Pattern Book & Colouring Book (a nicely paired set) and CGB, Volume III. These are the final books in the CGB series, although I expect that the teaching and kits from the rest of the CGB Team and the astonishing work of the community will carry forward for a good long time.
To set the mood: I feel something like this looks. My head right now is very alonely, beautiful, intensely productive, iterative. It’s a difficult time, but I wouldn’t trade it.
It’s both because these are my last books in the CGB series and also that there are so many eyes on this (and from several fields) that I have zero choice but to take the time to make the new books as comprehensive as they can be.
When I saw that first dratted beautiful Kaleidocycle (Susannah Thomson is technically responsible – watch this if you forgot) a year of work on the Pattern Book evaporated with barely a whiffing sound in the face of what was completely new information for me about basic forms. What at first just looked like good fun with tetrahedra made from simple triangles turned into a very Alice In Wonderland fall into a zone of work that overlaps art, mathematics, geometry and engineering, and something that is clearly the key to unlock an entire series of puzzles and tasks small and large. The work exploded in my head, and then it exploded my life, and it was not possible to pretend I’d never seen it, and leave it out. If only!
As usual, whenever I am near the end of a book project, I feel two things: exultation and joy, and an incredible impatience to finish. My impatience is shared, sporadically, by those waiting, but on the whole people are being very kind; most people on this project have watched me produce at least one book; it’s a labour of love and it takes the time that it takes.
This year, I’ve had a bit more on my plate than I expected; a bit of heartbreak, an empty-nest divorce (and along with that no small uncertainty about my future), a deep dive into academic learning when the Machines reared their heads and monkey-wrenched my mind, and (stunningly) the success of one of my pushes at MIT. The latter is deeply exciting; it’s a 21-story fall of wind and power that is being built in collaboration with the incredible Ned Kahn and the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. I’ve never done a big piece before, and it occupies my mind, pleasantly.
Regarding the new books – I have to say that I’m easily still two months away from finishing, and that’s just how it is. There isn’t anything I can do to hurry it. I’ve given myself until the end of the year, and I hope it’s enough, because it sort of has to be. I console myself with the fact that this push of work is producing not only the three books, but also the fall of wind down the building, an official architectural beadwork club at MIT, a science paper about cycle Machines (in process with Pat Verrier in England) and a couple of new UNlab projects. Which is a lot.
So: I thank you for your patience, and yep, I’m working every day. If you are curious to know more about me, or what’s been going on with me as a human being, you can catch up with recent updates to my personal blog, www.katemckinnon.com.
I want to send each of you beady hugs and really a lot of love from the trenches, and I thank you for giving me the space I need to finish this all in a way that I can be proud of, no matter who ends up holding the results in their hands, or critiquing my conclusions about form, shape, and 100,000 years of human handwork.