an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators
Yesterday, when I posted our first kit, I lamented that I didn’t have time to chat anymore. I thought about that overnight, and realized that it was a genuine sorrow for me. I’m not taking enough time to read, or to garden, or to write non-CGB things, and I am somewhat out of practice. You may not be in a chatty mood, if not, perhaps you will forgive or indulge me.
I vowed to improve– I’m digging a new garden bed, I moved books back to my night table, I am writing to you. Today I’m working on the photos for one of our next kits, Complex Squares and Spirals, and that will make me happy. We’ve graphed and wordcharted them in a way that even I can follow; this is a miracle and I have longed to make these patterns but really had no capacity to follow instructions in the past. Thanks to Karen Beningfield for graphs, Kristen Ho for word charts, Kathryn Shriver for the variations, and to Ingrid Wangsvik, Dustin Wedekind, and Joke Van Biesen for the challenging patterns we are working with. These are just a few of them.
The pandemic continues to be heartbreaking to me. I am so grateful to have my booster shot now and I feel personally safe, but three quarters of a million people are dead in my country alone and many are continuing to spread and suffer even though we have a vaccine. Everything is in a shambles. As a member of a national service science team I am also feeling like an ant pushing a block up a hill; we have groundbreaking work to deliver, but things are simply too broken for structure to form again. We push onward, and the beadwork is with me all of the way. Last week I flew on an airplane for the first time since January of 2020– we went to speak to Navy leadership about how to break through the morass, and I had eggboxes in my pocket to demonstrate morphing surfaces and skins.
This final restructuring of the CGB books has also been a real shock to my system, to be honest. It has taken/stolen my entire year so far, but the published project will be more resilient and more fundamental because of it. I haven’t spoken much about why I have had to do this, other than to say that it became essential to do so to preserve the open-source nature of our work. When I saw some rough behavior on team last year surrounding discovery credits, I knew that I had to bulletproof our published record to be certain that all expressions of technique were fundamental, brilliant, and free to all, and to only show in our pages the work of artists who intend for their discoveries to be plundered. It has been a very difficult rewrite for me, as I thought my part was done a year ago, but I understand that it is essential and I can see how much the finished product will benefit.
Here are some peeks at draft pages from the new History section from CGB, Volume III, showing our collaborative strengths. Ideas flowered in our discovery group, and then were built out the following year. Each moment of discovery is sacred, and sharing those moments with as many as we can is for me the core of the practice. Remembering who was in the group or around the table at the time is an important part of the record. If you have neat pictures from one of our discovery sessions, would you email them to me? email@example.com is a good email for that.
I hope that when I’m finished, shipping containers will once again be moving, unloaded, and the shortages of paper, ink, beads, binding and every other thing we need to do our job abate and resources are once again flowing to the people. Here in Savannah the backlog can be easily seen, as it is a major port and the containers are spilling out unmanageably. Apparently truckers only get paid when the container hits their truck, and so any backlog means long lines, and long lines means no pay. As with every other system that is broken, nothing short of a fairness overhaul is going to fix it.
As I’ve mentioned before, when we release our digital preview to pre-orders (which will happen as soon as I finish) all of you who have ordered our books will have a chance to review the work, read the books, and then you can decide whether or not you want to remain on the list for paper copies, receive a digital copy + a bead kit, or keep the digital copy with our compliments and receive a refund. If you are receiving this email, you will not miss a thing; I will make a good amount of noise when we send out the digital preprints, heck, it will be the highlight of my year. You can all choose whichever of the three paths you prefer at the time, and I thank you for your patience while I finish. There are a thousand details with any changes in structure…
Thanks to those who have ordered our first Fellowship Kit, a colourway designed by Sam Norgard, one of our 2021 Fellows.
This program is something I really want to talk about, but I’m doing the work of funding it first, and the kits are going to be a big part of that. They will all be over $100, which is a lot of money, but to counteract high bead prices, we will publish the colour theory for free as a living part of our technical section. So whether you have a CGB kit or not, we will be able to play together. This first assortment of 14 colours is from Sam Norgard, and between Sam, Kathryn Shriver and I, we have made a shocking number of colour combos. We can guide you to choosing 14 beads from your own collection, and we will try to make sure you have some transparent, some silver-lined, some metallic, and some vibrant clear colours.
Whenever we are trying to fund something (in this case an academic push) the end goal is the same, to get the knowledge in the hands of the people, and to make fundamental information available to all without need for purchase. Our technical info is always free to all, we will film and explain the colour theory in our kits, we are here for you and interested in what you might make, learn, and discover.
So thanks for being there for me, I really appreciate all of you who get in touch, stick around, bead with us. I am thinking of you, and I am way too busy, but I think some really beautiful work is going to come out of this time, both in terms of the CGB project and also of our long, long push for open sharing as a way to make better progress in innovation. I hope that you are safe, and that you have beads, and that we are able to see each other again soon.