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

CORNERS. Finally.

Hello! Lots of news.

Publication update: I am adding in a small amount of (really important) new material to the three books we have coming out, and then we should be pointed once again straight at the presses. We should be able to deliver everything by the end of the summer, all three books (Pattern Book, Colouring Book, CGB Volume III, and we have several science papers and an interactive App in the pipe as well,)

The pre-order bundles are going to blow your minds. We have a really great team on this one, and I can’t WAIT to show you everything we’ve done. Thank you thank you to everyone who has supported this project with ideas, time, work, pre-orders, patience, enthusiasm, and beadwork. I am still hoarding a good deal of it, but it’s really really helpful.

Photo request:  If you’ve made a cycle with our Hinges, will you please send me photos and/or feedback on how they worked for you? Also,  more more more Exploding Sets!
(Email and thank you!)

Exploded Warped Square Kate McKinnon web

News from Kate: It’s been a very intense 2016 and 2017 for me and for the book project, as I’ve become more and more surrounded in a sea of information and action. Something important just happened, though – I finally learned yesterday what a corner is for. And once again, everything makes a new kind of sense.

That sounds fairly silly, I guess, but if you knew that “What is a CORNER?” was the single most unanswered question I had been asking for six years, it might mean more.

When I first saw Jean Power’s Power Puff bangle, I lost my mind with questions. These are three examples of the design, each a bit different. You can see that the chambers inside each Puff are compressible, unless they are locked into stiffness by tension or circumstance. Mine (on the left) had a two-bead start (CGB Volume I) and has a racing stripe. The other two are by Marg Gapper (top) and Jade McClung (bottom).

In beading the sheer number of peyote triangles required to complete the bangle, I became subsumed in questions about the Flat Peyote Triangle. The shape itself seemed to be standing in for something – and nothing could soothe my existential ache to know what it was hiding.

Even making a single triangle into Jean’s spectacular connected rope of two-sided puffs that could be joined into a bi-rotational machine that had at least four different faces was not enough to convince me I understood even a single thing about it.

Damned thing.

Dustin Counting Triangle 10 20 30

For the first book, Dustin and I created a new threadpath (the MRAW Band) to defeat the peyote start. MRAW turned out to be a beautiful model of DNA, and its cloning mechanism (the Elegant Guide Round) worked like RNA. If you think of the outer bands in this animation simply as the weight the MRAW can support, and you imagine the blue beads to be like our RAW beads (ours go on in groups of four) and our spacers and thread like the vertical and horizontal elements connecting the structure, well, it all gets a bit chewy.

So you can see I’ve been over my head since the beginning. I’ve never concealed this. Mysteries of the Universe were unfolding in front of me, and sometimes I felt as if I were the only one who could see them, and then suddenly, through the sharing of information online, there were others who saw it too, whatever it was. Even so, I got no ultimate understanding about what we had in our hands. It was obviously beyond me, in every way. Perhaps the information was even divine; who knows what the human mind can bear? We filter a great deal out.

I soldiered onward, and book two came out.

I continued my explorations. The triangle was so confusing in what it wasn’t showing me, and the MRAW was so deep in its relation to human biology and protein formation in the Universe that I turned to trying to solve the deeper, more fundamental questions surrounding the simple Warped Square. Well, that lively little form turned out to be a hyperbolic parabaloid (Hypar), which is a shape infamous in mathematics, architecture and engineering for generating Special Circumstances.

I learned that the Hypar is not only a frisky shape, but it’s actually a battery. The tension it is under is stored energy, and the energy releases with a giant FLIP when the tension is reversed. If you have ever flipped one, you know that if your tension is perfectly springy, it’s quite the kick.

In addition to all of this, the Hypars immediately began modelling the fabric of spacetime and demanding to be presented to physicists and to people studying energy storage, who dream of morphing surfaces, propellantless propulsion in space. Unngh.

Hyperbolic Paraboloids

At MIT, we bumped into Deconstruction in a random class during 2016 IAP term. It just showed up, sashayed in, and ended everything, and then began it all over again. Our Exploding Rounds stopped Exploding and started slipping apart with little drama. There was no need for a cold start anymore, we were cloning everything from Exploding Sets (which also were not really Exploding anymore.)

We discovered Kaleidocycles and  bumped into Bricard Linkages and mirror tetrahedra, and once again the work connected itself to science and engineering and demanded to be heard. After all, it’s simple to see how this machine could also be a morphing surface.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 6.44.15 PM

It could also be hiding other machines inside the Tetra chambers, and it could FOLD FLAT by separating into Mirror Sets. I scrambled to keep up, After all, these could all be wrangled down to JUST PATTERNS and there was no need to explain what was actually happening to me over here.  Was there?

And really there still isn’t, except to say that I have had no choice but to follow the work to where it has led me, and that is a much deeper, denser place than I ever could have expected or generated on my own, no matter how many corners I made or strings I let tangle in my pocket. I joined the Skunk Works Moonshot team; I guess I’ll be following these ideas into space, to Antarctica, to the Moon. These will be my last books in the CGB series.

I cannot thank each of you who have supported this project enough for the opportunity to gather, present and ultimately understand this information.

I’m so enjoying this last phase – the collecting of all of the new understandings, and I ask for your patience in these last weeks and months while we complete. During the next 30 days, I’ll be showing and telling, but also asking for a couple of new bead-alongs, so we can test the last few ideas I have about Flat-Packs.

Beady hugs, and hugely expansive gratitude from the last summer of the final books for CGB, what a sparkling time. Back with you soon. Promise.



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.

8 comments on “CORNERS. Finally.

    July 22, 2017

    OK, so where are the Hinges instructions, Flat Pack instructions, and that tantalizing Corner thing? I seem to have missed several somethings. Sigh…

    • katemckinnon
      July 24, 2017

      Hello, Karen! I’ll read you into the mission via email. Hugs!

  2. Pamela Bleser
    July 7, 2017

    I know that I ordered a book at least, but have not received anything other than emails … I missing my delivery?

  3. Dana Scott
    June 13, 2017

    OK, Miss Kate, let’s rock! When I got the first two books my life was changed, truly and deeply, and I’ve so enjoyed the journey. Your open, sharing ways in CGB world have brought me more in the shortest timespan as anything I’ve ever experienced. Ever. That in itself is a marvel. I feel your energy and joy and it makes me giddy, too.

    In this sparkling summer time let’s do our last new bead-alongs and see what flows out of that amazing head of yours and ours and all our hands. (It’s bound to be amazing.)

    Let’s rock & roll, baby!

  4. Kelly Wallace-Howell
    June 11, 2017

    Wow! This stuff is thought provoking. Makes me wonder about spiraling the triangles from tiny to large, like a fractal.
    Also, after seeing pictures of the Vegreville Egg sculpture, it would be interesting to really analyze how triangles are incorporated into the egg shape. I mean, starting from the idea that the triangle is the strongest shape, and the egg is a series of triangles, what other strong triangle-based structures await discovery?

  5. Paula J Clouse
    June 8, 2017

    While I’m looking forward to the new books, I am also saddened by the knowledge that they are the end. How I’ll miss all the fascinating scientific and mathematical nuances that go into your discoveries. I loved geometry in high school a great many, many years ago and never dreamed I could ever use it in my daily life. Your blog and beading has had me looking beyond into more that I forgot about …. golden rectangle, fibonacci spiral… I have tried to think ways to bead them ( mathematically)
    Thanks for the wonderful trip …. this 60plus brain has enjoyed it!

  6. mariecampbell728
    June 7, 2017

    Very informative, fits my progress just right. I began reading & beading CGB this summer. Was stumped by move away from Exploding until I read the 2016 blog and publication updates. The Hypar is ready for use. Rickrack in progress. Cycle on graph paper. The work of Dianne Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork, Jean Powers Geometric Beadwork and CGB I & II have spun bead design into a new era. Thank you all for your stimulation inspiration.

  7. shadowlynx
    June 6, 2017

    I tend to bead tight and until I forced myself to lighten up I had problems with the Hypar. One literally exploded on me as I was trying to ease it into the warped shaped and it didn’t want to go. All that tension, potential energy, let loose into amazing kinetic energy. It was very cool….even if I did have to start over. I did work out the tension problems. But now I’m having difficulties with warped pentagons. I need one to lay flattish and I can’t get there.
    More practice lightening up on tension . Funny how this is all a metaphor for life. I’m very glad I found you guys. My life and beading has taken interesting turns and folds 🙂

Please feel free to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on June 6, 2017 by .
June 2017
« May   Jul »
%d bloggers like this: