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

CGB@MIT | January 2022

CGB@MIT: IAP 2022 January 18-23, 2022

Thanks to MIT for linking to the MIT News video about IAP that features Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, that was a nice touch for the kickoff of the 50th anniversary session!

(see one of our students hitting Ingrid Wangsvik’s beadwork with UV light at the 30 second mark)

Going back to MIT (in spite of the difficulties of winter + pandemic) will be a great happiness for me, and it’s all possible because of the vision of the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Read about it here.

IAP is a special term at MIT that gives students, faculty and staff the liberty to explore ideas and classes that enrich them. It’s like a refreshment in the academic year, and people are invited in from the outside world to have the chance to teach on their campus. We began coming to IAP at the invitation of Marty and Erik Demaine, and loved it so much we’ve kept coming back. This coming January (even if we are still wearing masks) CGB will be back on campus, fielding a joint session with our science teams.

I love this photo from our very first 2016 session (the one in the video) of Kim Van Antwerp coming through the main doors on Mass Ave. What a rock star.

Kim Van Antwerp, MIT 2016

Because we can’t gather in person until we get the pandemic under control, this session will be MIT-only, but the good news is that now everyone knows how to do virtual work, and all of the talks will be shown live and archived to watch later at any time.

Nico Williams beading with CGB at MIT in 2018

We will be designing and hanging a massive art exhibit that will span our entire auditorium, and Sam Norgard, Kathryn Shriver, Nico Williams and I will be presenting the ideas from our new academic textbook for the first time. The neat thing about IAP is that anyone can attend the classes, so professors, post-docs and grad students (people who are normally too busy to collaborate) often show up in our classroom. Who knows who we will get to talk to? I’m hopeful that Gabi Meyer will come in from UMadison as well, it was so inspiring to meet her and see her crocheted hyperbolic work when we went to the Bridges conference in Linz, in 2019.

Gabi Meyer, Joke Van Biesen and Marty Demaine in Marty’s origami-stuffed office at MIT

Several cherished members of our science team and joined this way. I am a person who was frustrated and undernourished by school from kindergarten through college, so you can imagine what a treat it is for me to feel so at home on this campus. I’m so grateful that they have this program, and I hope you join us online during the period January 18-23 for our classes.

Sam Norgard with students at MIT, 2019 session (?)

I’ll keep you posted as we go along, and I only wish I could invite everyone to come personally, as usual. It will be a magical space to drop our textbook, though, and maybe in addition to a near-silent campus there will be snow. By the grace of a friend, this year we are borrowing an apartment that stands at the Boston base of the bridge to MIT. It’s the bridge that cracked my head, the bridge that Houdini went off of chained, into the freezing river, the bridge I’ve walked over so many times with so many different people.

Ingrid Wangsvik on top of Building 54, overlooking campus
Ingrid, Claudia, Joke and I outside the Stata Center, the mirrored chrome Gehry building in the center of campus

Onward and upward!

About katemckinnon

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

9 comments on “CGB@MIT | January 2022

  1. Eleanor Wirth
    October 10, 2021

    Hi Kate! Can you tell me what the latest update is regarding the book orders? Think I was expecting shipment last April- thanks to Covid, understandably delayed. Any idea of when my order might be filled? Thank you, and hope you are doing well. Regards, Eleanor Wirth

    Sent from my iPhone


    • katemckinnon
      October 10, 2021

      Hi Eleanor! Please see my comment to Sharon in this thread – I think it will be at least April of next year before we can get the paper and spiral binding we need to print, but I am going to begin releasing the books digitally and I hope you will participate in beading with us!

  2. Sharon Green
    October 9, 2021

    When should we expect the digital editions to be released?

    • katemckinnon
      October 10, 2021

      Hi Sharon. I will release them one by one, as they are finished to a professional standard.

      I sympathise with your desire to have the books in hand. I feel the same, I just can’t wait.

      There was a great deal to do this year on my end to remove the work of a previous team member who was so concerned about people copying her designs without proper credit that she decided against publishing open-source with us, and it has created a massive disruption on my end, as I have reorganized our books to make sure that kind of thing can never happen to us again. Investing in a research team member is a big deal, it takes a lot of time, money, plane tickets, deep sharing of ideas, mentoring and relationship building, and it was a real blow to me to have to actually remove work I mentored.

      If (knowing what you do of the scope of our work) if you are concerned about the timeline, you should *definitely* consider exchanging your pre-order for a beautiful bead kit with a printed pattern, or for a refund, because it is just exhausting to me to continue to restate that I cannot release the books until they are ready. Even refunded pre-orders will receive complimentary digital copies of our work as our thanks for supporting the project, so it’s really a win-win for all of us.

      I honestly have no idea when we will be able to print the paper books; there are shortages of ink, paper, and spiral bindings, and it is just not doable. The competition for resources is too intense and I cannot even gather my team to help pack and ship.

      It would be good if everyone would get vaccinated and wear masks so we could get past this ridiculous time in life and get back to life. In the meantime, I am going to continue working to redo each and every one of our book pages. It’s going well, but for my own mental health I need to clear our pre-order list of anyone concerned about the wait. Please stay tuned and have a look at our first set of kits, I am working today to finish loading them into the shop, so you can see what your options are.


      (sorry if you saw two responses to this – one disappeared and I started again, and then both showed up. I deleted the first incomplete one.)

  3. Sarah Beardslee
    October 9, 2021

    I missed it when you were at MIT last time. Hope I’m able to participate in your classes this time, since I am local to the area. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    • katemckinnon
      October 9, 2021

      It’s possible that our sessions will be completely closed in person, and no matter what we won’t be able to have people in to bead this time, unfortunately. Let’s all hold hope that we turn this around soon. I’d love to bead with you! No matter what, we will stream the lectures. And we can look to a more open future.

  4. Marilyn Aronson
    October 9, 2021

    Please forward back to me what I sent you.

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Lila Pahl
    October 9, 2021

    Hi, Just curious-any news on when books already paid for will be shipped?
    Thanks, Lila Pahl

    • katemckinnon
      October 9, 2021

      Hi Lila, if you have followed these posts then you will be aware that we will not be able to print the paper copies of the books until the pandemic resolves but we will be issuing digital editions shortly. I will be encouraging as many people as possible to choose to exchange their pre-orders for bead kits or refunds, because it is too long to carry our accounting further into the future. We have a lot of great options for you to choose from, and we will absolutely be printing paper copies once it is possible.

      Please stay tuned, and then you can choose your option when we release the kits – refund, kit, or keep your pre-order in place.

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October 2021
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