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

Team Updates

Good morning to you all.

I am writing from Savannah, Georgia, on a soft rainy day, with a very tender heart. You may know that we moved the CGB project down here during the pandemic, when it became clear that humans were in a new kind of reality, a difficult place in human time where we cannot gather naturally, and life is not what we know. We still cannot gather, not safely. People all over are behaving terribly, to be frank, and I wish everyone would just stop. And breathe. And be kind.

Sadly, although we have sturdy vaccines, they are not available around the world equally, and in the USA, where they are abundant and free, people are refusing the vaccine for political reasons. This is madness. Over 600,000 are dead here so far, and many more are coming. The virus has mutated so effectively by now that even young children are getting sick too. We eradicated polio, smallpox and other deadly plagues by working together, we brilliantly figured out a way to fight this sophisticated virus, and … we let this happen. It hurts.

Essentially everything is broken now except the things that were never real in the first place. The very wealthy are not inconvenienced, in fact they are profiting. Working artists would be on the other end of that spectrum, and we’ve spent the entire last year and a half working to support people around the world who have been out of pocket, not able to teach or buy supplies.

In April of last year (when things started to get really scary) John Bead in Canada packed up a huge pallet of beads and shipped them down to us in DC. Originally, they were meant for our team to gather and create a series of museum exhibits after the publication of our new books, but they rapidly turned instead into a lifeline of support for bead artists near and far, struggling to maintain their practices during the lockdown.

About half of the boxes were of a bead that was rejected by the People – a size 10 silver-lined pony bead that liked to tarnish. We eagerly took them, and I sent several boxes worth out to 100 different beaders. Yes! I did. I mailed out care packages small and large, and whenever possible with financial stipends too.

Check out this blog post to see what Joy Davison (also known as JayDee) did with the pony beads. Wow. I used my supply to create a series of memorial art pieces placed around Washington, DC, with portraits of young people lost to violence, Indigenous women and children refused asylum, children in cages. Each glittering silver bead represented a tear shed.

I’ll keep you posted on our full publication schedule. There are shortages of everything from ink to paper, our team can’t gather, and all of our hearts are sore. But by God we are going to move forward. Our first book out will be coming at the end of this month, and I’ll be back soon to tell you more about how we are going to manage it with everything cocked up. There is much to tell.

In the meantime, please have a peek at Kathryn Shriver’s Rainbow Exploding PodCast Bead, one of the new Fellowship Kits going on sale next week in our shop.

While we wait out this difficult time, let’s all be gentle, and if possible focus on what matters – kindness. Most people are not emotionally ok right now, watching the world fall apart (I know I am not) and it’s important to keep that in mind when we reach out.

Rainbow Exploding PodCast Bead, Kathryn Shriver, 2021

About katemckinnon

Kate McKinnon has devoted herself to the study of how things are done, and how they could be done better.

32 comments on “Team Updates

  1. Joy Davison (JayDee)
    August 12, 2021

    Thanks for sharing my blog! I appreciate it.

  2. Billie Lynn S
    August 10, 2021

    Thank you for all your kind words.

  3. dianabendall
    August 10, 2021

    Dear Kate
    Thank you as always for your comments, they ring so true for us all; here in the UK it has been very little different, although after our third lockdown in the last eighteen months there is generally a calmer and kinder atmosphere in many places.
    Being able to bead during these strange times has been such a privilege, as has being able to keep in touch with the beading community, even if most of the time it has been virtual.
    Please keep the photos and comments coming, we all need more rainbows in our lives.
    PS a digital version of the book would be great

  4. Friderike Strassmann
    August 6, 2021

    So many comments i can only agree. For the printed book version, i am happy to wait. In the meantime i will make some flowers for the all colors project, with big smile and thankyou to all involved. When i first learned about the CGB team and, may i say movement, i felt something completely new coming up and opening to me. Thankyou Kate for your latest posts.

  5. Hagit Amichay
    August 6, 2021

    Hi Kate,
    Thank you for your kind and inspiring words, as always. Warm hugs from me.
    I am entirely with Marianne on this; a digital copy of the book/s is just fine for me, saving the paper, ink and the shipping.

    • katemckinnon
      August 6, 2021

      Although it was not my hope/dream, I will definitely be starting with digital releases- first one coming this month.
      We will be following up with a paper print run though, it just might be a slower process than we hoped. Maybe the world will recover and things will come back to functional. Hopeful.

      Thank you for your kind words!

  6. Helen
    August 5, 2021

    I loved reading your note.A big problem is bad behavior gets more coverage than that of the many heroes from this pandemic. It started with masks being a political statement and not a medical issue and still continues. It is sad to hear/see the tremendous number of people who died during the first wave, and it’s such a sad comment on our society that we have a way to protect you, but for various reasons, you are afraid….until it’s too late- Meanwhile other countries are screaming for the vaccine- even in Sydney Australia….the poor nurses are having to deal with that decision, which has got to be just too much. I refuse to let the negativity impact me- You can’t , it will stifle your creativity and then fear takes over. No way, my grandmother dealt with the pandemic of 1915, lost her daughter to yellow fever and was a sweet loving lady till her death at age 99….That’s what I got behind me plus a brain to follow scientific facts , and prayers- it’s a miracle worker…. Powerful 3 mix I think!! Keep safe & stay positive

  7. Pauline Breakwell
    August 5, 2021

    Big hugs and thank you for carrying on 🙏

  8. Barbara faherty
    August 5, 2021

    Dear Kate sending you and all at CGB best wishes from Brisbane Australia. 💕💕💕

  9. Patti Thompson
    August 4, 2021

    Let me know if you need contributions. I have a donor advised fund and will need the ein no and name and address to send.

    On Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 11:28 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: ” Good morning to you all. I am writing from > Savannah, Georgia, on a soft rainy day, with a very tender heart. You may > know that we moved the CGB project down here during the pandemic, when it > became clear that humans were in a new kind of reality, a d” >

    • katemckinnon
      August 5, 2021

      I will email you, Patti, we are just about to make a big push to fund three fellowships, and I appreciate your interest.

  10. annaparadox
    August 4, 2021

    Hi, Kate. Every post from the project has been a support to me. Beauty and kindness are essential nutrients for the soul! I remain awed and appreciative of all the creativity and discovery, and a longer path has only meant more sights along the way. Sending all my best wishes to you and the team and our limping civilization! Anna

  11. susanarrighidesigns
    August 4, 2021

    It’s very sad what is happening throughout the world today, even families are falling apart; I hate to say it but society is breaking down, it’s the fall of the Roman Empire all over again. Thank you Kate for your thought provoking words. Take care and stay safe.

  12. Joyce Rooks
    August 4, 2021

    Sending you mucho, mucho amor to help offset the disappointment and frustration with some of our fellow humans. I feel it too and am continuing to try and dig deep to get through this but it is exhausting. ❤️

  13. Debbie Jansen
    August 4, 2021

    well said!!!

  14. kmatth7621
    August 4, 2021

    I wish I could give you and the rest of the team a long hug. I’m retired and have never been very social, so I haven’t been as directly impacted by the lock downs as most people have been. But I’ve seen what it’s done to others – made some bitter or angry, some stupid, but for the most part it feels like the ones who are makers are having the most empathy toward others. Maybe it’s because we use our hands and our minds to create things instead of pounding them on the walls. Just know that there are many, many beaders who stand beside you through all this. Projects like the All Colors give us a way to connect, and to show that we still care about others. Hold firm. What you and the team are doing is making a difference now, and will for many years to come.

    • katemckinnon
      August 4, 2021

      That is such a lovely thing to say. Sometimes it’s so hard.
      Your hug was felt and received here.

    • Kate H
      August 4, 2021

      What she said too!

  15. jebeadebabe
    August 4, 2021

    Hi Kate,
    I am not doing much beading lately due to arthritic hands and shoulder issues. I have an excess of beads in my workshop ( now my hubbies office!) that I would love to send you if you want them. 11’s 6’s 8’s pearls shaped beads etc. You name it i have it. Let me know what would be the best to put into a box and I will get it to you. I agree we need more kindness and am terrified of where this country is going.
    Sending you love and light.

    • katemckinnon
      August 4, 2021

      Jenni, I am so sorry about the arthritis. I feel it in my hands too, but thankfully am still able to bead. We will gratefully accept your bead donation, and I will email you the address. Hugs, and love and light to you as well, Kate

  16. Marianne Mukai
    August 4, 2021

    Hello Kate,

    Thank you again for your efforts, and those of the team!

    Yes, this pandemic redux situation is entirely human-made and so unnecessary – very disheartening.

    You mentioned a paper shortage and difficulties with the book production, and I’m guessing there are more people who want a copy than you will be able to produce in the first run? If that is the case, I for one am fine with just having access to a digital copy and waiting for my physical books when the scarcity eases. I’d bet others would be willing to do this also, if it would be helpful for some who may not have internet access, or good internet access.

    Also I went to Sam’s site and wanted to donate, but she is not accepting PayPal and the old lady in me does not want to set up one of these other accounts. A political choice (no PayPal)? I realize they are less than wholesome as a corporation.

    Take care and enjoy your day,


    • katemckinnon
      August 4, 2021

      Oh, I thought Sam HAD added PayPal, but if it isn’t there yet it will be soon. Check back!

  17. Sharon Manewitz
    August 4, 2021

    Thank you for your wisdom, caring and friendship. Because of you, Kate, and the people you surround yourself with, i feel the kindness you share. BTW – my broken elbow healed nicely and I am beading again.

    • katemckinnon
      August 4, 2021

      I am so glad you are healed! Man. That was scary.
      I wish we could gather, I miss you so.

  18. annip333
    August 4, 2021


  19. Cathy
    August 4, 2021

    Your words are so on the mark. The hatred, racism, individualism are only more apparent because of social media. These people have always been living amongst us. Social media has given them the courage to come out of the background. Wishing you much success. ♥️

  20. BarbaraBriggsDesigns
    August 4, 2021

    I have never witnessed so much greed and hatred amongst people…it has probably been this way from the beginning of time, but we weren’t fully aware until the internet came along bringing the entire world into our lives. With the exception of a few, we have never witnessed a pandemic…living through it is new territory for us all and it seems to have brought about the worst in some people, yet the kindness of others shines through in these tumultuous times. One must stay optimistic and not despair.

  21. beadybirdy
    August 4, 2021

    Wow.Just Wow. Thank you for sharing.

    On Wed, Aug 4, 2021 at 10:29 AM CONTEMPORARY GEOMETRIC BEADWORK wrote:

    > katemckinnon posted: ” Good morning to you all. I am writing from > Savannah, Georgia, on a soft rainy day, with a very tender heart. You may > know that we moved the CGB project down here during the pandemic, when it > became clear that humans were in a new kind of reality, a d” >

  22. ecwichman
    August 4, 2021

    After reading this story I thought I have some to offer. Bought these years ago in Cairo Egypt when the were 10 Egypt pounds for bag full. Never got around to using them. Where can I send them so you can pass on or use. Would be a better use than sitting here on my shelf.

    Carol Wichman 740 Royal Oaks Loop Fredericksburg,tx 78624

    Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else’s life forever.” – Margaret Cho


  23. N Shannon Guzzo
    August 4, 2021

    Bless you CGB Team!!!!!

Please feel free to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on August 4, 2021 by .
August 2021
%d bloggers like this: