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

gathering our minds together

Spirals and colour fades are key parts of any discussion on colour.

The colour fades are simple as they start in the center with one idea, and transition as they expand to another. My example (above right) starts with a hot red center, and moves out to a bright yellow ring. The sixth and seventh rounds were rendered in transparent beads, so they transluced to make the yellow edge sing in some lights, and looked a bit darker when not lit.

A word chart for Dustin’s triangle spiral (above left) can be found by clicking the link at left, or at the end of this post. I suggest that you try a few, as it’s a fun way to explore how colours change when they are next to each other. It’s also an easy way to evaluate how well your popping colours actually do pop (or poop out) against each other. The egg-blue Delica 725 that Sam chose to be a join bead in her Kaleidocycle stands out boldly in any grouping, it was such a surprising and successful choice. (See the spiral triangles below.)

This coming week I’ll be working with Sam Norgard’s 14-colour Nova Scotia Sunset beads. The two triangles below are examples made from that assortment, but only include six colours each. Of course you can work with any beads you gather. In this exploration, look ideally for a grouping that has:

Several Opaque Colours (a few bold, clean clear colours work wonders)
A Silver-Lined bead
A Dark
A Light
Something That Pops

In Production Right Now

Just to catch you up on what’s on my desk right now, it’s pretty exciting and busy. I feel badly for not having time to write, to spend on social media, and to be aware of your life moments, needs, victories and quests. Please do contact me if you just want to reach out. It’s difficult to manage “are we there yet” emails but it I welcome and value your human communications.

Anyway, this is what I am on:

• Making twelve different bead kits and advanced colourway discussions, open to all
• The upcoming free and open-source digital releases of our new technique section and patterns
• Digital pre-releases of the CGB Pattern Book and CGB Volume III to our active pre-orders
• An academic textbook (with Sam Norgard, Nico Williams and Kathryn Shriver)
• The CGB Cocktail Book (our art photo collection)
• Four full academic fellowships (Kathryn, Nico and Sam are the first three)
• A new academic recognition/citation structure and new ways of referencing and crediting
• A collaborative grant program with Indigenous beaders from all lands
• A new type of National Service Program for research and discovery professionals
• MIT/IAP 2022
• Some hilarious merch for the beadwork and science teams

I’d love to talk more about each of these items on the list, and I will, but this is a very intense time for me as all of the items above are surging forward at once. My time is ephemeral, ghostly, and sometimes captured in large vital chunks. I have now completed enough new images that I feel comfortable beginning the digital releases, and they will come first. This was a very time-consuming effort for me, as it has involved re-photographing (and Photoshop-cutting) early work as well as cataloguing the new work, but how rewarding it is to now look at our library of glittering examples and artworks. I will be continuing photography into at least March of next year, so please send simple snapshots of your most original, beautiful and well-crafted examples of geometric technique to me at as you progress through the new material.

The posts I have put up recently about transitioning CGB fully to becoming a part of our science team (The UnLAB) and about converting all of our existing pre-orders to a revolutionary new royalty system that feeds back to all of our creators have had a good effect, I think. Some people who were unhappy are weeded out, which is very good for me, and the rest of us are getting out our beads. I mean… there is going to be so much new in the technical release alone, it will keep us busy for years.

Pictures From Our Workshop

I held a five-day discovery workshop last week here in Savannah, and it was the first since our realization of the pandemic in March of 2020. We were all vaxxed, and and thankfully it worked out. Connecting in person was a joy for us all. The next gathering is for the science and the academic teams at MIT in the third week of January, and then two more workshops in March. Currently they’re full, but I’ll keep you posted.

Sam Norgard and Dawn Peterson brought over the Black And White Together Project (a magnificent communal work under Sam’s direction) and we all had fun with it. Kathryn Shriver brought her Big Bead, a frankly astonishing fabric of loomed seed beads.

Above, Naomi Profesorsky having fun with a segment of the Black And White portrait of Joyce Scott, and below, Sam relaxing under the sweet weight of Kathryn’s Big Bead.

Feel free to save, share and print the chart – this is a PDF (note- updated November 18 to correct a typo in line 6)

About katemckinnon

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

8 comments on “gathering our minds together

  1. Farah adeeba Mughal
    November 17, 2021

    Hi I hope you are well and safe. I love beading recently I have had emergency spinal surgery. With time available would you be so kind to do a step by step of the Kaledescope design . A video or what would be easier. With gratitude and health

    Sent from my iPhone


    • katemckinnon
      November 17, 2021

      Yes! I will certainly be doing this, and happily this very week. Stay tuned!

  2. s.s. (@klez50)
    November 16, 2021

    Please note…
    There is an error in the swirl pattern.
    Step 6 on last edge should be BB-E,A,D,D.

    • katemckinnon
      November 17, 2021

      Thank you for your note, we did test them all but there is always a way for an error to creep in. I updated the link!

  3. Tina Falcoff
    November 14, 2021

    What fantastically talented people. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Bethel Anthony
    November 14, 2021

    Thank you so much for the update on all of the things you are working on. Thank you, also for the PDF of the swirl triangle design. I can’t believe haw spoiled my brain has gotten that I really really want a word chart for the triangle designs.
    Hang in there. There is so much upset thinking lately. I am sorry you are getting so much of it. I am glad you are able to continue in spite of it. I am so looking forward to the paper book, but I am very happy to be patient as I know it will be amazing. I wish you didn’t have to go through so many frustrations in this journey. My thoughts are with you.

  5. Deb Bridge
    November 14, 2021

    Thanks for the spiral and colour fade charts, Kate!

    One thing I’ve learned about myself as a beader since making more geometric pieces over the past several years is that I prefer making repeat patterns in fewer numbers, so 6 triangles in one colour way is about my limit. I’ve also learned that I do ***NOT*** like stitching them together, so I look at the many fabulous cycles here and elsewhere, I don’t attempt them because I dislike the assembly process. Do you, or does anyone else here, have suggestions for overcoming that?

    I love the black and white and big bead photos—those are truly amazing pieces!

    • katemckinnon
      November 14, 2021

      Hi Deb! I think I could definitely show you a pleasant way to join elements together! I take it as a personal challenge. Look for upcoming posts. My top advice is always to make and finish each unit in the assembly separately, and then use a fresh needle and a fresh thread to assemble. Also, we do hinged assemblies which are very simple to make, and mean that only a few elements require seams.

      If you like warped forms, you can make entire cycles out of single units hinged together, like warped hexagons, octagons, nonagons, etc.

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2021 by .
November 2021
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