CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK

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

Thread as ancestral fiber

I was thinking this morning that the thread we bead with has a lot in common with the threads of knowledge and experience of our ancestors. The threads we cut to bead our piece bind together the separate elements of creation just as our experiences bind us into history, family, collaborations.

When we cut the thread to complete a piece, we do not sever the connection of the thread to itself; the spool of thread was born as one strand no matter what happens to it later. In that way, each piece from a spool is related to every other piece, and each piece by a maker connects everything the person created with the raw sources of all of the materials, the tools….

When I look at a piece of furniture, I always try to find the little stamp or tag that tells me where it was made, maybe sometimes even where the wood came from. It seems important somehow. Where does the sand come from that creates my Japanese cylinder beads?


Thinking of thread, I also wonder what impels Bowerbirds and Weaver Birds to do their jobs with fiber, knowing intuitively where to begin, how to end. So many thoughts arise about how knowledge is shared and stored, and also I feel that these birds must be considered a part of our community .

Here is a snippet from the BBC showing the mad skilz of the Weaver Bird. I doubt I could do this job without being taught.

Stay safe tonight, and please, stay home if you can. I’ll be working on the CGB web site for the next week, so if things go dark or email bounces briefly, hang tight.

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 katemckinnon.com or on some city street, walking fast, smiling at strangers.

13 comments on “Thread as ancestral fiber

  1. Norann Hein
    January 2, 2021

    Love this thought! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Chief Seattle: Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

  2. Irene Riedman
    January 2, 2021

    In the email of December 27, 2020, you sent an email offering to pre-order the new book. The link in that email did not work. Many people wanted to get the book, but we could not access the information. Can we still order the book ? How much is it?

    See below for part of the email you sent out.

    Because the need now is so great, I’m re-opening pre-orders for our new books, please, all are welcome to order. I always try not to take in any more funds through pre-order than it costs to print the books, but this is a special circumstance and I think re-opening the book revenue will make a real difference in what we can do to help. (Book purchases are not tax-deductible).

    Click here to order books. Remember we don’t really know when we will be allowed to gather again to ship – it takes a whole team to pull it off.

    Your work is extraordinary! Thank you for any information you can provide,

    Irene Riedman

    From: CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK Date: Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 10:19 AM To: ireneriedman@gmail.com Subject: [New post] Thread as ancestral fiber katemckinnon posted: ” I was thinking this morning that the thread we bead with has a lot in common with the threads of knowledge and experience of our ancestors. The threads we cut to bead our piece bind together the separate elements of creation just as our experiences bind “

    • katemckinnon
      January 2, 2021

      You sure can, and apologies for the bad link. Our web shop is at http://www.cgbteam.com – but we will be printing tens of thousands of books, so the only reason to pre-order right now is to support the team. Otherwise, just wait til they are printed; we will have them for sale here, there and everywhere!
      Beady hugs
      Kate

  3. Carol Kuebler
    January 1, 2021

    Kate
    Very much thought out and well spoken. Can be applied to many things in life. Thx for sharing.

  4. patriciacvener
    January 1, 2021

    What a lovely and thoughtful email! And I enjoyed the clip from the BBC. I would have watched the whole thing but they cut it short. Cheers!

    Patricia

    *Patricia C. Vener — Dancer, Artist, Rogue Astronomer 203.787.8953* Vist my Zazzle collection of face masks with my art on them! Fine Art and Handmade Art to Wear and Display Subscribe to Patricia’s eNewsletter

    Thank you for thinking about adding an original Vener to your art collection.

    On Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 10:19 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: ” I was thinking this morning that the thread we bead > with has a lot in common with the threads of knowledge and experience of > our ancestors. The threads we cut to bead our piece bind together the > separate elements of creation just as our experiences bind ” >

  5. loribsimon@yahoo.com
    December 31, 2020

    Hi Kate, Is there a cut-off date for pre-ordering the new books? And could you please differentiate the content of the textbook vs the pattern book vs the third volume book? Thanks for your inspiring beadwork and thoughtful posts!  Wishing a better 2021 to all!Lori

    • katemckinnon
      January 1, 2021

      Hi Lori! No cutoff, these are just book orders, and absolutely no need to pre-order at all as we will be printing many of each and distributing them worldwide.

      The textbook is an actual academic textbook we are creating to be used at university level (or for curious younger students and craftspersons too of course) but is not all original material. Rather, it’s a deeper view of shapes, forms, surfaces, and how we can move between these states and even animate or collaborate with them.

      I always recommend waiting until the books are published for those who are new to the team. Pre-orders are really just meant to support the work in progress (and this has been a LONG one).

  6. Lisa Holzapfel
    December 31, 2020

    Thread for me roots back to native Americans using sinu with porcupine quills. Hunting. Gathering all useable material. Making sinu from tendons. It goes back to the very root of human survival. And creativity.

    • katemckinnon
      December 31, 2020

      Yes, I really feel this. I want this connection to resonate in all of our contemporary minds…

  7. Sally Hunt
    December 31, 2020

    I am in awe of weaver birds as well as all of you with your mad skilz. You inspire me.

  8. Linda Wahl
    December 31, 2020

    Thank you for those inspiring thoughts and video. I recommend the book Braiding Sweetgrass if you have not read it.
    Happy New Year from Tucson!

  9. Farah adeeba Mughal
    December 31, 2020

    Hi Beautifully crafted. Stay blessed both you and your family and precious animals if have any.With Care

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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