an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
Hello, beaders! It’s August now, and the madness continues around the world. We have all lost cherished loved ones (four of the older ones in my family passed away this summer, and it hurts so much to not be able to gather to celebrate them) and I have lost friends, colleagues, a couple of role models. My heart breaks for all of the suffering in the world and I am sorry we all have to go through so much right now. I am thinking of you; how are you doing? What are you making? (Remember that all replies to the blog in your email post to the web site so you are speaking to us all here).
May I distract you with some beady talk?
Did you happen to see the July issue of Beadwork Magazine? I meant to mention it earlier as they included this nice piece on CGB; thanks much to the Beadwork crew. It was so nice of them to let us talk about science as well as the artsy nature of our beadwork.
Our last post mentioned our first academic articles in a special Issue of The Journal of Mathematics and the Arts– the team had two pieces, Karen Beningfield’s gorgeous article on Geometric Capture, featuring her Mondrian-inspired Geometric Ribbon neckpiece and my article in the same issue on Mobius Kaleidocycles. The cycle article didn’t include these incredible hybrid examples by Joy Davison (below) and Joke Van Biesen, but we do plan to write them up too.
These two amazing pieces were imagined and created independently in 2019, each beader with their own ideas about hinging a hybrid geometry. Both cycles turn well with exactly enough space. I photographed them from many angles for our books.
Below, Joke Van Biesen used clear Delica beads for invisible hinges.
I’ve been so busy here, but I will keep you posted as we move toward September about the status of the press, and the capabilities of the US Mail to deliver our books (it is astonishing that our own federal government is attacking our own national mail service). This and the pandemic are strong factors in when we can ship. In an amusing, epic side note, the Audit division of the IRS is one arm of the government working smoothly during the pandemic and I am responding to an audit of our team’s 2017 taxes. 2017 was quite the year, some of you may remember us in that year…. full of discoveries, and I went through an investigation by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works that focused oddly on why I was so interested in geometry. Ah, the memories.
I always admired the introduction to the book by D.L. Goodstein on statistical mechanics, a difficult subject I am sure. It begins,
“Ludwig Boltzman, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906 by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously.”
This is how I feel about our mad idea to comprehend geometric beadwork. The finish of this project is a celebration of tens of thousands of hours given by hundreds of people, all dedicated to the open-source nature of our research project. There have been epic journeys and discoveries and unimaginable cycles and morphing surfaces and we have met in cities all over the world. And hundreds of thousands of us are now connected through the internet.
I can’t wait to finish the cycle and send out the books, and we are going to figure this out. Of course I want to release the books digitally immediately, but the reality of that is that it is very difficult for the team to do that for a variety of reasons, from presentation to not wanting the book to be pirated before we even get to see paper copies ourselves. We are working on the various challenges, working on everything. Like so many right now, we have gone within to improve ourselves and our presentation while we wait for the madness to die down enough to get work done.
In the meantime, we are finishing the BatCycle pattern (an amazing linkage discovered by Claudia Furthner) for our next great bead-a-long. Have a look, this is kind of astonishing. All photos are of the same piece at the same moment, just arranged differently. This is a BatCycle before the second set of triangles goes in. When I got my hands into this demo, I began wondering about all of the ways we could join and adapt this linkage before it’s finalized… this is my real-time questioning…. and I find some intriguing spaces.
BatCycles are made of Warped Hexagons (6) and geometric triangles (12), and to help people new to Warped forms learn to make the squirrelly hexagons, Julia Pretl is finishing up another open-source bead by bead animation for our library. Have you seen her animations of the Geometric Triangle and the Warped Square/Hypar? They are free on our YouTube channel, click here.
Back with you soon – my heart is with you and yours as you find your own way through all of this.
Above, a “BatHedra” element, a set of mock mirror tetrahedra created by adding triangles to the open centers of Warped Hexagons, folded in half. BatCycle architecture, Claudia Furthner, beadwork and colourwork, Kate McKinnon