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

Superstar Patterns: The Reverse Starflower

In 2021, we were continuing to revel in the freedom of linear creation brought by the Casting Spine (devised by Joy Davison) and writing up all of the ensuing (and enthralling) Spiral techniques. We did explorations of a small suite of combined Increase and Decrease progressions on Spines (we’d explored them all in two-drop as well) and I had a little tackle-box stuffed with Slinky-stacks of shapes.

As we were completely absorbed in communicating the basics of the Spine/Spiral discoveries, it never occurred to us to hunt for shapes we might be missing. Luckily Fate (dressed again as English beader Susannah Thomson) sent us a box of flat Star work and said something like “hey these just kind of happened in my hands and I know you like to hear about that”. When we got the spiral out, we all got the shivers.

It didn’t seem sensible to lose our heads about such a simple shape and form (and if she had only sent Flat Stars I doubt we would have thought very hard about them) but her Blue Star Spiral exploded what we thought we knew about dynamic spirals and we had no choice but to pursue the secret of it into the woods, over the fields, wherever it took us.

Even more disruptive, a few months later Kathryn Shriver switched the progressions of the Flat Star for the Reverse Starflower and those of us responsible for documenting it (and its implications) were just somehow melted by the work it took to absorb it fully. Again, hard to understand, it’s just a couple of progressions. Hmm.

When you play with our pages for this neat variation (releasing this evening) we hope that you will be able to see the heart and soul we’ve put into making our patterns.

The Flat Six-Pointed Star (above) uses a Triangle (or Herringbone) Increase and a Hexagon Decrease to stay flat, but the Reverse Starflower pattern (above, in red, and below, in a set of three) builds with Hexagon Increases and pulled-together Slow Herringbone Decreases.

Reverse Starflowers are cupped forms, not flat, and like Stars their points and petals can be embellished to be any shape that pleases.

(see below for some Nerd Annex chat about terminology).

We’re working through the final edit of the 30 pages of Starflower patterns today, checking for details, small errors, and getting the file together for the press, and when we finish we’ll publish a copy here this evening, free to all. As we did for the Flat Star, we include quick charts and a fully illustrated and photographed Step-by-Step, and in the case of the Reverse Starflower we made an unembellished basic practice pattern first (below, 18 rounds), before moving to a fully embellished version (31 rounds).

See you later today, with PDFs of our patterns, and as always, we look forward to seeing, photographing (and publishing!) your interpretations, so be sure to show us what you make.

Beadwork and design in this post by Kathryn Shriver, Susannah Thomson and Kate McKinnon (spines). Types of Triangle graph below by e-GMAT, CCL

CHAT: Stitch Conventions and Fundamental Forms or Ideas

In Geometric Peyote, the ideal home space of each stitch combination is a perfectly flat form. For example, the Hexagon Increase is a slow increase (one that happens over multiple rounds) and it is named because when dropped evenly (i.e. with the same number of peyote beads between each increase) into circular peyote stitch, it creates a flat hexagon. The Square Increases create flat squares, and so on.

In Geometric Peyote, the Triangle Increase is a progression that uses three Herringbone Increases placed evenly in circular peyote to achieve a flat equilateral triangle, and so it is (in this context) called the Triangle Increase, and when it is used to create an equilateral triangle, there are perfect 60° angles between the increase lines. It is possible to use the Herringbone increase to create many other types of triangle, though (as many of us have discovered through play and error) and those triangles may or may not have even one angle that is 60°.

So speaking of all Herringbone Increases or Decreases as “Triangle” didn’t really seem right to us, but we do use that language when speaking in Geometric Peyote.

Using the naming logic described above, the pattern so many of us have used to make the Flat Star should probably just be called the Six-Pointed Star Increase. We’ve come to understand that when a concept or a build comes to many hands and minds independently over time, that Thing is surely fundamental. Flexagons and Kaleidocycles are like that, they just show up here and there over time in different fields, literally appearing in people’s hands and disrupting applecarts, and quite often people in one field are unaware that their discovery has already been made in another.

When CGB finds a form or a process to be fundamental, we always treat it with a lot of time, respect and attention, as any study of a fundamental anything will tell you stories about how everything in the Universe works. (When this is understood, the time I took to comprehend the Kaleidocycle and the Flat Star will make more sense.) Fundamentals are sacred.

About katemckinnon

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

5 comments on “Superstar Patterns: The Reverse Starflower

  1. dmfbeads
    December 12, 2022

    Acute triangles don’t have two 90 degree angles. In fact, no triangle has two 90 degree angles because a triangle can only have 180 degrees total when all its angles are totaled.

    • katemckinnon
      December 12, 2022

      Oh, it’s quite small but there is a little “less than” symbol in front of the 90° angles in the acute triangle. Both of the bottom angles will be less than 90°, it says.

  2. Paulette Mazurek
    December 12, 2022

    This so creative and this spine reminds me of the earlier Podcast and learning the possibilities…. I remember our CABO group had a mini workshop and these early CGB works, Podcast Beadwork was selected. We continue to follow and learn from CGB. Thanks so much for the blog, patterns, and even the Zoom events. The books will fabulous….!

  3. Love Cavaliers
    December 12, 2022

    I love my  spine.  I did one side

  4. Kat Oliva
    December 12, 2022

    So exciting! Missing the flow of ideas and you. 


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This entry was posted on December 12, 2022 by .
December 2022
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