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

Beading into the future at MIT

Good morning from Boston, possibly before a snowstorm.
We have a small core team here working on the final HyperLoops and Casting Spines for the book, and local beaders, MIT students, guests, and faculty who drop in and out as they wish. We are folding origami in paper and doing beading.



(Building 26 is long, low, with greenish windows, just west of the Stata center inward to campus. An easy way to enter is from the area of 30 Vassar. Use your phone to find it.)

• .  • .  •

Warped Square illustration by Dustin Wedekind

above, a Warped Square Exploding Set drawing from Dustin Wedekind

All of our first ideas about Exploding Sets seem additionally profound now in the face of the most powerful Exploding Set of all, the HyperDisc. A couple of really fun progressions have been added to the Pattern Book, like making teeny-tiny Podcast Beads and starting huge HyperDiscs from them.

I look forward to showing you what this one looks like off of it’s tiny starter. I’ll be taking photos of it today, for that last chapter. Huge thanks to Joy Davison, Claudia Furthner and Karen Beningfield for conceiving and furthering these Loops and Discs and Cycles.


HyperLoop on 16-point PodCast Bead, Kate McKinnonA HyperLoop on a tiny PodCast bead, Kate McKinnon


•   •   •

This week, Susannah Thomson and I welcomed a lot of new MIT kids to our room, and into town flew Nico Williams, Franklin Martin, Sam Norgard and Kat Oliva.

We’ve had fun with the local beaders, too, many from the Guilds and bead societies have stopped in to have a day with us.

In coming days we are expecting more fun with amazing people like Diane Fitzgerald, Aurelio Castano and Edwin Batres, Ursula Raymann, Joke van Biesen, Sheila Prose and… you?

Let me know.

Bonita Munson, Kaleidocycle Net pattern from 24 Flat Peyote Triangles
One of the origami paper cycles we plan to fold in paper is
this lovely design by Bonita Munson.

Next week we start origami and beading demos in the hallways, school visits, and a bit of video to share of our new forms.

A note on our Lorenz Butterfly mimics, for those who are making them: Thinking about their circular features, and how to show them, many of us have been motivated to use clear beads and coloured thread to have more control about the visual experience of the plots.

Remember… coloured thread can be used -after- the HyperDisc is assembled with white or clear thread and clear seed or cylinder beads….

plot of Lorenz attractor from a paper by E. Ghys

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.

5 comments on “Beading into the future at MIT

  1. Janet Sherman
    January 24, 2019

    Am planning on coming Thursday, Jan 31 and for the final lecture. Working on hyperloops, now.

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  2. ziva
    January 21, 2019

    Beautiful work Kate. I will be in Cambridge in Feb and have been contemplating to stop by. Are you still meeting on Feb 2? Another question that I have is which software do you use for the peyote patterns? Thanks,

  3. Anne B. Dent
    January 21, 2019

    Hello, Kate, you helped me get vol 1 this Dec. I have bought Vol II from Amazon last week. I am madly working through vol I. I have discovered Lorenz Manifolds today. Will hyper loops and Lorenz manifolds be covered in Vol III when it comes out?

    • katemckinnon
      January 22, 2019

      In the Pattern Book AND Volume III!

      • anne5440
        January 22, 2019

        Thank you for letting me know. I have worked through the basics in volume I now. I am moving on to the flat triangles practice. I had done a few of those from another source in the fall. I know I need to do lots of them. I have earrings ideas to try with this practice. This all is so inspiring to me. Ty.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2019 by .
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