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

Open Studio at MIT, Jan 15-31

MIT Activities

Open Studio:   Tuesday-Friday, Jan 15-31, 10-5 each day.   Building 26, Room 322
Final Lecture:   Friday, February 1, Building 34, ground floor auditorium 34-101

(both lectures will be uploaded to YouTube; we had a technical hitch with the Jan 7 video file, but it should be sorted soon.)

mo fisher web
Mo Fisher

The Project Explorations

I’ve been thinking with deep respect of how many of us there are now beading together and freely sharing ideas.

We’re in the hundreds of thousands now, and spread all around the world. The forms we are making are all brand new to beadwork, and this is not nothing, as humans have been doing beads for over 300,000 years.

kat oliva helix maquette web
Kat Oliva

In that context, the geometric ideas seem very meaningful. We are touching deep chords, and the information seems to be in front of us, insisting on expressing in our minds and hands. It will not leave us until we understand it at the most fundamental levels: waves, frequencies and potential.

I feel lucky to be part of the unfolding, as the ideas of a geometrically driven universe are flowering in all fields. On the beadwork team, our materials are so perfect for making these structures. Many of our forms are not only like the Universe, they are suitable models.

Joke clear flowers Hypar web.jpg

Joke van Biesen

It’s been a busy time here in Boston, as I am part of two teams at the IAP term – the beading and origami team (CGB) and a science team (Advanced Propulsion). The teams will overlap like helixes or HyperDiscs for the rest of the month.

The science team had two lectures this week, and each of them were amazing. There are 35 topics on the list, all of them outrageous, and each time we sit down together there will be new people in the room, new ideas flowing.

lorenzLorenz Butterfly

As with most of our gatherings, we start slowly and spin up. This week, Susannah Thomson is in town from Bristol, England, and she will be here also to overlap with the first week of the activities at MIT. Next week, the extended CGB team begins arriving from all over, and by the end of the month we will be a huge crowd, filling the final auditorium.

People arrange themselves in these gatherings, we find. They come in and out at seemingly random times, but never fail to make a coherent whole. Susannah is often an impetus for new thought or an instigator of Actions, so it’s no surprise to me to find that she is here early in the process, as she was with her Kaleidocycle.

susannah thomson cycleSusannah Thomson

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.

17 comments on “Open Studio at MIT, Jan 15-31

  1. Diane Ballestas
    February 1, 2019

    Hi! Is the open studio still going on today? Just went by 26-322 and the classroom was empty? Did I got to the wrong room?

    • katemckinnon
      February 1, 2019

      Today was our final lecture, Diane, I’m sorry you missed it! We were in 34-101, the larger auditorium.

  2. Janet Sherman
    January 14, 2019

    Coming for final lecture. If I want to come for the open workshop on January 31 do I need to sign up?

  3. Naomi Ellenberg-Dukas
    January 13, 2019

    Hi Kate, I am sorry I was not able to attend your lecture last week, but am trying to find you on YouTube. If possible, I would like to come to the Studio on Tuesday, January 15. If this is open, would people register for this, or just show up? Regards, Naomi

    Naomi Ellenberg-Dukas DukasDesigns 617 851 6409

    Beadesigner International/The New England Bead Society Established in 1986 President and Programming Co-chair

    Belmont World Film Founder & Board Chair

    Belmont Art Association Co-chair

    On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 5:30 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: “MIT Activities Open Studio: Tuesday-Friday, Jan > 15-31, 10-5 each day. Building 26, Room 322 Final Lecture: Friday, > February 1, Building 34, ground floor auditorium 34-101 (both lectures will > be uploaded to YouTube; we had a technical hitch with the” >

    • katemckinnon
      January 13, 2019

      Just come on over, Naomi, and bring your own bead tray and tools, a few simple beads – Delicas, rounds, size 11.
      The latest lecture isn’t up yet (file format issues) but should be soon.

  4. Len Tower Jt
    January 12, 2019

    What are the start & end times of the final lecture?
    (In Friday, February 1, Building 34, ground floor auditorium 34-101)

    • katemckinnon
      January 13, 2019

      11-12, thank you, will add.

      • lentower
        January 13, 2019

        Most welcome! ; – }

  5. Sue Gilliam
    January 12, 2019

    So .. The Open Studio has been moved to building 26 instead of 36 ?

  6. Yen P
    January 11, 2019

    Is this a bring your own material and work together or a lecture on how to do the projects? Is there a fee to join? I’d love to go on the 21st if you are still open on a holiday.


    • katemckinnon
      January 11, 2019

      We are only doing TUES-FRIDAY, no Mondays except the final lecture.

      There is no materials fee for MIT students and faculty. Outside-MIT, please bring your own beading surface, scissors and materials, or email me at for guidance.

  7. Sheila Prosterman
    January 11, 2019

    has anyone worked a lorenz butterfly in beads. I find it very irresistible. Maybe I’ll try it

  8. kteachergirl
    January 11, 2019

    Will there be open studio hours Even during Martin Luther King holiday on that Monday? I am a science teacher and beaded and would love to learn from you guys.

    Sent from my iPhone

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