an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
Good morning from a sunny springy morning in Boston.
Thanks much to everyone who is beading PodCast Beads along with us, asking questions, finding joy, confusion, or enlightenment in the project. Each are valuable!
In this photo, I show one of the many ways to use the Pods. To take off a Rick-Rack cast that is smaller than the edges of the form, simply turn around for your Decreases before you get to the end of each side. The Pod doesn’t mind.
To do this, and still easily remove your new piece, when installing your first round travel down a few of the extra beads (or to the end of the Pod, as I did here) and abandon a big round bead (or something else you can cut off) at the end of each Decrease Point.
Cutting these beads off later will cut the Installation Thread from Round 1, free those tips, and allow you to remove the new cast with ease when you are ready. Feel free to build the entire new form on the Pod, but only if you know it will fit!
Until you are sure about fit, just take small casts.
Six rounds is the minimum to bead before removal, if you want a sturdy start. Each round you add in Folded Form like this is really easy to handle – if you’ve made Winged or Zigged pieces before, you know how sprawly they can be, and how a working thread likes to catch on the loose points.
I often leave my Casts on my Models for quite a while, just for convenience. Remember, though, this is ONLY if you know that they will fit. Until then, do a few casts in different sizes, so you can understand what Six Points in a Zigged form means to your own hand, wrist and plans for your pieces.
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It’s also possible to tie your Casts up into Flower or Pod forms, and either work them this way, finish them this way, or use them to cast new pieces from. In the photo below, the Pod on the right is a Rainbow All-Wing (shown below, being created on my original PodCast Bead) tied gently at both ends (I put round beads in between the Wingtips when I tie them together, to be gentle to my beads) birthing a beautiful golden Rick-Rack.
It was easy for me to step up a bead size from the All-Wing, because All-Wings naturally go up a bead per Side as they build. So the next round off of my 10-bead-per-side PodCast Bead, if it was an All-Wing (all increases) would be 11 beads per side. If it was a Rick-Rack I was casting, then the side count would stay the same, 10 beads.
Going up only one bead per side is, for me, just enough of an increase in my size to be able to build my golden Rick-Rack a few inches high, and still get my hand through.
To build a tall cylinder, I would have to account for the entire circumference of my folded hand, and so I personally would need a 12-bead start for this. There is no math that needs to be done, and to tables to consult to determine size this way. Just by your taking off two quick casts, and trying them on, we can tell all we need to help you choose.
Hand sizes are so different than wrist sizes that it can get really complex trying to accurately plan. It’s so much simpler just to make an Exploding Set, and try things on.
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This small Pod-based technique of Zigged casting and Deconstruction is both beneath and beyond genius – like songs, stories or poems that come to people complete, this isn’t something that I or our team thought of, instead it’s something that I was finally able to see through the mist when enough clues added up.
We’ve found a number of ways to cast Rick-Racks before this, but none of them offered what the Pod does- this is how Nature does it.
If a plant wants a new leaf, for example, you don’t see it putting out a long line, and filling it in. It makes it in miniature, curled and folded up, and then unfurls it when it’s ready. To reproduce, it casts off a seed.
Everything of interest in the Universe is folded in some way. If we can see the ways how, and how the folding/unfolding happens over time, then we can learn important things about the nature of what we may truly be looking at.
People are clever, too. We don’t have to use all of a thing just to use it as a tool. If I want to run a mile, and my road is four miles long, I don’t have to use the whole road. I just run a half mile on it, and turn around. The road doesn’t care, unless maybe it loves me, and the other three and a half miles are lonely for my step (smiling). In that case, if I love the road too, I’ll train to run the WHOLE THING, or use a different piece of the road every day.
I’ve accumulated enough comments now to understand the questions that both advanced and beginning beaders have about this technique, and I’ll be creating the video to explain them (and show a bit more of the miracles) today and possibly tomorrow as well.
Keep beading, and please feel free to keep asking questions. They are so valuable to me, as I try to condense this wisdom, this information, into just a few pages. You can see how dense it can be, and there is still so much to reveal about what can be done. No one person could do this alone, from understanding it to explaining it. This project spans hundreds of thousands of minds and hands, and that’s exactly what it needed to get here.
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If you understand this technique, and you’ve already taken off a Rick-Rack, why not take off another size, to build taller or smaller, or an All-Wing too (all increases, just like the little Pod)? Here is six rounds of Rainbow All-Wing on one of my 10-bead per side Casting Pods. It’s so fun to bead and hold!
Please note – All-Wings will not “fit” your hand or wrist right away, because they are sprawly, but we’ll show you a variety of ways to build on them, size and modify them to wear.
As with Rick-Rack, there is no such thing as a cast that is too small or too big. We can make gorgeous work out of every one of them. And they are quick to make, Pods and Casts, once you get the drill, so why not make another one?
You will probably want a Pod in 8 points as well, but you’ll need even fewer beads per side at that point count. If you go up to 10 or 12 points, you may find that you only have room for three or four beads per side.
For a Horned Rick-Rack (these are amazing pieces) you would need even more room, as each Horn is like a dart in your beaded fabric, a dart that cannot be ironed flat. This beauty was crafted by Maria Cristina Grifone, and was featured in CGB, Volume 1.
Karen Beningfield, who illustrates the CGB books, is keen to cast off a bangle with a form like Maria’s, above, and she’s made a PodCast Bead with 12 (and one with 14) points with which to do it. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Each Point Count will result in a different number of beads per side, which makes a different piece.
One neat thing I will show you in the video I’m making this week is that it’s also easy to make Casts that feature Points of different heights; this is just like the first photo in this post, really- you can use as much or little of each Side of the Pod as you like. If you want a really wild cast, bead your Pod sides rather high, and then just… sketch off what you want in the first round.
Tiena Habing built this lovely piece above off of an MRAW Band (a neat architectural start from CGB, Volumes I and II) and she had to plan for irregular, diving diversions in her Point heights. This is tricky to plan, especially in a crown-sized circle of wiggly beads.
But from a 10-Point PodCast Bead, beaded at least as long as the tallest Point here, it’s a piece a’cake. Here I am, making one with odd Points on a 10-Point Pod made by Claudia Furthner. (Claudia has good hands, and she crafted this crowdy PodCast Bead without a center ring, which is a bit challenging to sort in the hand – and perhaps not as sturdy long-term for a Casting Model.)
Try a few odd sides, if you like, in any Point size!
If you want to make new Casting Pods in various sizes, bear in mind that it’s easiest to do them in even sizes, so that all of your Points are neatly aligned up and down, but it’s possible to do them in odd counts too, if you have the patience to keep them sorted out.