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

February, 2021: publication updates

It is almost incredible to me to type the date. I cannot fathom that the pandemic is still ongoing, or that there are people who are too selfish to wear masks, stop gathering, and take it seriously.

Our plan continues to be to go to press as soon as enough of our team is vaccinated to gather to do the jobs associated. It will be many tons of books, a month of work, an entire roomful of books in towering pallets, some will have signatures, personal notes, enclosures, there will be big boxes, individual envelopes, bead kits (we’ll offer these at press time) and it will be intense. We will be sending books around the planet, stocking beadshops, bookstores, and Amazon Global (only at full cover price, as always) in addition to filling our modest store of pre-orders. After the month is over, it will still be a full-time job to keep the shipping current. We are all excited, eager.

As always, anyone who does not want to wait can have their pre-order refunded – I never mind this, I simply thank people for their support. All who asked for refunds will still receive complimentary digital copies, as we greatly appreciate all of you. Just email me at if you want to cancel an order.

I will be surprised (and crushed) if we aren’t vaccinated by summertime. Honestly, I don’t know how much more of this we can all take. The losses have been crushing, lives, businesses, hopes, futures, savings. So many of us are hanging on by a thread, torn in the heart from seeing so much racism and hate, violence against the innocent. We must do better. Personally, I am so affected and shocked by what I have seen in just the past months from my countrypeople alone that I have re-dedicated the rest of my life and career to putting forward those whom others oppress.

If you’d like to read more about what I am working on, here is a summary. I doubt I’ll be seen much in the next few months, although of course I miss you and I deeply wish I was more connected to the many of you who feed my heart and soul. The messages of love, support and discovery that come through always make me happy.

The last time our beadwork team gathered was November of 2019, and I remember it as if it were yesterday.

The innovation that sparkled out of our last days together (and the many gatherings on all of our science teams that came before) continues to inform my days, my thinking, and my writing. The one thing I can take away from this time of pandemic is that I have been given the gift of retreating deeply into our work, and doing my best to spend this time making it, as I hoped it would be, a series of matching, related and relatable works. Don’t worry about keeping track of what you ordered, if you are one of our pre-orders. We will be sending the full set to the early pre-orders, and offering everyone on the list the opportunity to add kits or extra copies (at their pre-order prices) before we ship. No need to think about it now.

Also, don’t worry about your mailing address- we’ll do a professional address correction run when we go to press, and send out postcards, make sure we have you.

After arranging our material, this is what we have:

The CGB Technical Manual: CGB Volume III
Volume III will be a reissue of the innovative stitches, techniques and ideas presented in CGB Volumes I and II, with the additions of all of our new discoveries and tools such as Deconstruction, Exploding Sets, the PodCast Bead, and the Casting Spine. I will not be reprinting Volumes I and II, but we will continue to offer them digitally. I just don’t believe in spending the paper, plastic and resources to propagate incomplete information. Now that we know more, we must do better.

Anyone who wants to can sell their copies of Vols 1 or II online easily, as they are collectors items now, and amusingly searchbots show prices of available copies at many hundreds of dollars each. Obviously the project could make a goatload of money just endlessly printing and selling these first two books, but I believe we can do better by new beaders by including the new ideas. It’s just cruel to send people by the long road when you know the shortcuts, I won’t do it.

The CGB Pattern Book
This book evolved, as it had to, to include discoveries made in an endless, exhausting, exhilerating stream between 2016-2020. Unfortunately I was hit violently by a car in May, 2018 (while crossing a street in Boston) and I had a head injury that took over a year from my ability to progress, but when we were able to begin writing again, the ideas were even more intense. This is a pure book of patterns to represent the span of our discoveries. Julia Pretl’s frame-by-frame animations of the PodCast, Warped Square and Triangle were gamechangers for our presentation. Have you seen them on our (free) YouTube channel?

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork: A Photographic Retrospective
This is a hardcover, large format coffee table book that features full-page photographs and discussions about hundreds of beautiful, one of a kind pieces. It will be current as of the date we go to press, so KEEP SENDING PHOTOS OF YOUR EXTRAORDINARY GEOMETRIC WORK. We still have months to get exceptional new photos added. I had originally planned the photo book as our third volume, but it’s nicer this way.

The CGB Academic Textbook
Geometric beadwork is now in the official curriculum at the primary and university levels, thanks to people like Claudia Furthner in Austria, and Sam Norgard in Savannah, Georgia. When we left DC before the riots, one of the main reasons we chose Savannah to relocate to was because Sam’s institution, the great Savannah College of Art and Design, is based here. Students in both locations have made amazing work. Our textbook will be a fantastic elective for science, engineering, math and architecture students, and (we hope) part of a core curriculum for art, design and textile students.

So, this is our timetable, this is my structure, and let me add my strong hope for your continued health and resilience during this difficult time. Please stay safe, be kind, we will ride again.

beadwork in photos by Kate McKinnon and Sylvia Lambourg

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.

15 comments on “February, 2021: publication updates

  1. Helen Karakash
    February 11, 2021

    So excited!!

    PS: I got both Covid vaccines. Aside from a sore arm, I had very few side affects. There is hope on the horizon. Stay safe.

  2. Paula J Clouse
    February 11, 2021

    Dear Kate,
    Wow, it feels like that breathless anticipation one gets when you’re going to be a parent for the first time. And the time is getting really close for the arrival of the little one.
    I am so excited about this; I have been waiting for this project, watched the progress and been cheering the participants for their exceptional work.
    With my gratitude and appreciation to all especially you dear Kate.

  3. Jo Woolnough
    February 11, 2021

    Hi Kate,
    It really has been a very long year and I have been in restrictive shielding a whole year by the end of Feb.
    I know the trials & tribulations you and your colleagues have faced while making these books .
    I am happy to continue waiting for the time being as I believe this book will be more than worth its wait.

    I believe the summer will bring happier times for us all and I have like you immersed myself in my beading whilst in my shielded bubble.
    Take care stay safe and above all carry on beading xx

  4. barjeaw
    February 11, 2021

    Thank you so much Kate, and team, for all your wonderful work, it is greatly appreciated. Take care, stay safe and enjoy the little things in life as you go. Best wishes Barbara X


  5. Carol Connors
    February 10, 2021

    Hi Kate, A couple of weeks (? time flies) ago you reopened the preorder for The Contemporary Geometric Beadwork. Could you please resend me information on how to do that as I didn’t take care of it immediately when offered. Thanks. Carol Connors


  6. Erin Bachrach
    February 10, 2021

    So excited, Kate & team!! SO much hard work, blood, sweat & tears- I’m sure. Thank you all, for all of your work on this, and for continuing your explorations. You are all very inspiring to so many people! I’m just thrilled that i was able to follow all of you on this journey, and look forward to having the weight of the book in my hands.


    Sent from Erin Bachrach


  7. Maureen Boylan
    February 10, 2021



  8. Peggy Kemp
    February 10, 2021

    Thank you for taking the time to give us an update, Kate. Who knew this would last so long, we’d be so isolated, things would get so difficult. I admired your creativity and strength of character throughout. It gives me hope.

    February 10, 2021

    Dear Kate, Sorry, I accidentally sent my email before I was through. The concepts and beadwork you and other contributors have produced is utterly amazing. I will be putting in an order when the books are available. With Well Wishes, Diana Mulloy

    Sent from my iPad


    • katemckinnon
      February 10, 2021

      Thanks, Diana! You can pre-order anytime, or wait until the books go to press and then they will be for sale everywhere.
      Here is a link to our shop:

    February 10, 2021

    Dear Kate, I can hardly wait for your new book(s)! In the meantime, my wrists have gotten so bad (tendinitis and arthritis) that I don’t think I can bead anymore but am looking forward to the mental pleasure of all the spectacular geometry and bead gymnastics!

    I wanted you to know that I also am horrified at all the hate and violence we’ve seen over the past four years. My sphere of influence is small but believe that through prayer and positive interactions with people that kindness can prevail. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but additional health problems keep me pretty isolated. We do what we can do.

    Sent from my iPad


  11. Shannon Guzzo
    February 10, 2021

    I am grateful for your perseverance, Kate, and for the dedication of the entire CGB team! Creativity and vision cannot be diminished by a pandemic! Thank you for the update!

  12. Moira Marriott
    February 10, 2021

    Thank you for the update. Hang on in there, good things are worth waiting for. Stay safe , healthy and creative .xx

  13. jilladamsstudios
    February 10, 2021

    Thank you Kate! This is amazing work, makes me want to learn to bead and incorporate into other materials. Your posts are refreshing and hopeful evidence that our world has this beautiful, compassionate, and curious person in it.

    Stay well.

    Warm regards, Jill

    On Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 7:30 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: ” It is almost incredible to me to type the date. I > cannot fathom that the pandemic is still ongoing, or that there are people > who are too selfish to wear masks, stop gathering, and take it seriously. > Our plan continues to be to go to press as soon as ” >

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This entry was posted on February 10, 2021 by .


February 2021
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