an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
Hello! Before all of the basic technical information starts rolling along (which it will on this site for the next six months at least) I’d like to put a little shortlist here from the end of the nerdy story, just for the benefit of those who have been following all along. If you don’t get any of the notes below, don’t worry. They will all turn into beautiful photographs, videos on YouTube, and new notes in the projects in the book.
I’ve got some shocking new things to show and tell you, and we are folding them into the book projects in much the way one stiffens a meringue – carefully.
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Above, visitors from afar who flew in to work and celebrate the end of the project with me. From top left: Ingrid Wangsvik, from Norway, Claudia Furthner from Austria, and Joke Van Biesen, from the Netherlands. Photo at MIT CSAIL.
The trip started with me flying in to give a lecture on October 18th for the New England Bead Society. The title was Beadwork and the Geometry of the Universe. It was fantastic.
I spoke of the project from beginning to end (it’s been over six years now) and people really seemed to grip the ideas – especially some of the newer, more radical ones about energy and tension.
Especially missed here in Boston was Karen Beningfield, from South Africa, who has done many of the illustrations for the new books, and of course Kim Van Antwerp and Dustin Wedekind, who have been on the project for so long. We thought of you all, all of the beaders who have participated all over the world, and we looked at photos from the entire 6+ years of the exploration, looked at the first two books.
Those two books still strike me as utterly amazing. I can’t believe them.
With me in my suitcase (as it goes everywhere with me) is the remaining project beadwork that I have kept for a long time, or that is currently flowing through me. I do believe that I have fully studied most of them (and of course shown them to mathematicians and scientists all over the world) and pieces are beginning to be sent home. All work should be back in the maker’s hands by the end of November, unless the pieces are on a longer loan to the project.
We still plan an international exhibit and of course a special costume show. More details on these after the books come out! No time to think of them now. We probably won’t be making Norwegian bridal hats out of morphing, cycling, energetic hexagonal surfaces, but if we do, Ingrid is willing to model. (Beadwork by Claudia Furthner.)
We were happy to overlap briefly with Erik Demaine at MIT – we showed up at one of his evening lectures, and Joke showed him a form that she made of hypars that he loved for its unusual curvature (which makes a different math than one made of paper).
Erik will once again be sponsoring me to teach the IAP term at MIT this January, so look for information on those sessions here on the blog on December 1. All will be welcome, and we hope to make the MIT Mathematical Beading Club a fully official organization this Spring. I feel so lucky to be able to do it all.
What did we work on this past week? Everything. But especially:
INSERTS: HYPARS INTO EVERYTHING (especially slots and slits and corners)
also TRIANGLES INTO EVERYTHING (it’s so shockingly easy to create Wings, Horns, sizing and structure from an insertion created from a Deconstruction or Exploded Slot…)
Above: this is a shockingly simple idea with huge implications… more soon! many of you will get this immediately. OMG! OMG!! Triangle beaded by Dustin Wedekind (complete with dot notation!) Inserted Hypar beaded by Kim Van Antwerp.
MULTIFUCTIONAL/MULTIDIMENSIONAL JOINS that create new shapes and forms…
Ship and plane skins, things that lay flat but then suddenly are not flat at all… things that self-organize and fly, or open to reveal new forms that can emerge or act…
STATIC vs ENERGETIC FORMS
or neutral vs. “charged” forms, also how to sustain a charge as a form changes… all Hypars are charged forms, if made with correct tension…
CHARGED FRAMES – when we harvest a hyperbolic frame from the Explosion or Deconstruction of a Warped Square, what characteristics does the frame retain/lose?
CYCLES WITH SURPRISES, Shrines, spaces, squares, hypars, open sides, Only Bones and also Added Material… we have a lot of examples of these photographed…
THE SMALLEST POSSIBLE (and possibly simplest) WINGED CASTING MODELS (and a new option for the Flat Piece Of Paper Problem, in which we pretend we are 2D and we must achieve 3D or 4D contact: what are our options?
• NEW THOUGHTS about MRAW and the Elegant Guide Round – huge unexplored potential. MRAW as join or hinge rows… EGR as architectural stabilization, double-clones, etc.
• NEW THOUGHTS about calculating potential in forms, and about charging (or re-charging) existing older pieces with energy and/or Insertions…
• NEW THOUGHTS about how every Rick-Rack is a Cycle (and we can easily add hypars, triangles or other shapes now through Deconstruction and Insertion) – Rick-Rack is also of course what sizes and tames an All-Wing (via a sketch/layer on the outside or the inside).
Each of these notes has a world behind it, and I’ll show them all to you. They are simple, our ideas just get simpler and more straightforward as we speak to each other, as time moves forward. Please forgive any typos; I am tired and a bit shredded by spooks (story on this to come on my personal journal) but I’m essentially unharmed, and I remain excited and really full of love and energy for the work.
AND our foreign nationals, each of whom are precious. We bead in peace, but our information is extremely disruptive, we admit.
I hope that you (yes you) will be able to participate in some of the bead-alongs we’re about to start. As usual, I hope to get everyone beading the new work in advance of the actual book shipping, and there WILL be time to get your work into the last book in the series, or on one of the project posters. We are doing four more – this was the first:
I head home to Tucson on Wednesday to finish up the project, and expect to ship all three books from there before moving to Boston at the turn of the new year. And it’s time to wrap up my life in the desert, give away the remainder of the possessions of a lifetime.
I can’t wait to hug Miss Fish so tight, to brush her, cherish her. Loving an animal is so simple. It was fantastic to see my youngest son, Evan (now 20) who flew into Boston last week for a few days on his Fall Break, and didn’t mind sleeping on the couch in a house full of beaders.
Each relationship I have is precious to me. If it seems as if I haven’t been paying proper attention to my relationships in the past two years, it’s simply true. I haven’t. Work has consumed me, events have been profound. I am thinking of you, I think of you always and often.
Thanks much to everyone who has participated in person, through comments or questions, through book purchases, or in spirit. Soon, so soon, we’ll explode this into a thousand worlds again, and the carousel will begin again.
Above, atop MIT54, one of my favorite perches on campus.
Most students go through it at least once, but not too many make it up top. I was so happy to be allowed to take the crew aloft, huge thanks to MIT EAPS once again.