a wave of metalwork is coming…

I’m on my way to Tucson soon for the last Seed Bead Summit before the publication of the upcoming Pattern Book for the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork project. In the last few months, I’ve been gathering material, illustrations, ideas and examples into a glittering pile, and we’re ready for the final push to the press.

I’ve decided to make some metal components to go with the beadwork (this is always a desire of mine, and I rarely take time to fulfill it) and while I am doing that, I am going to make another series of rings and chains. YES. RINGS AND CHAINS. I just have a few categories up in the Shop now, but as I’m sure of what I am making, I will add more.


joined fine silver chain

Some of the rings are going to be skyscraper and Dali Summerhome rings, and some meditation bowls, and those are the ones that cost the most to make, so I’m taking orders for those. I’ll make 24 skyscrapers and 24 meditation bowls. Would you like one? If so, please order it now, or send me an email asking me to reserve one for you.

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For the chains, I’ll do a variety; sculpted, invisibly cut and joined, fused, forged… I’ll have a variety to choose from. What they will all have in common is pure fine silver, no solder, and a hand-forged clasp. I think I’ll make a dozen… there might be more, but I can’t promise –  if you want a chain, please let me know now.

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sculpted chain

I appreciate your support of these pieces, as their sale will fund the exploration of the new clasps and connection elements that will accompany the Pattern Book to the press. I can’t wait to show my new ideas for closures and morphing captures.

Goldberg Skyscrapers, fine silver, Kate McKinnon

To see piles of photos of metalwork I’ve made, just Google “Kate McKinnon Chains” (or substitute rings, metal, clasps or beads for the word “chains”). I’m going to make a little of everything, and especially toggle bars. I miss my toggle bars, don’t you? No one seems to do them quite like me.

And yes, of course there will be earrings. How could there not be?
Delivery May 15 for all the metal.
hugs! and thanks for your support.


Dapped earrings by kate mckinnon, fine silver, 2010

meditation bowl earrings

excellent fine silver and sterling earrings, kate mckinnon 2010

pinned bowl earrings


from the high desert

I am in an odd place, for a suite of unusual reasons, working on the Fuller proposal, the CGB layouts, MIT buildings, wind power, solar glitter, and trying to figure out exactly which direction I’m going to go in next, when I finish the current crop of books and the paper I have in process about the folding and tucking we’ve been doing and the exhibit for the Met and Nerdstock at MIT and whatever the hell else I do between now and September.

cal tech 5

Cal Tech, roses in bloom

Cal tech ath 3

Cal Tech, Athenaeum hallway

Cal Tech Ath Mar 2016

Cal Tech, Athenaeum dining room

Cal Tech Ath 2 Mar 2016

waiters clowning

Yuk Bill and Andy

Yuk Yung, Bill McKinnon, Andy Ingersoll, Cal Tech, March 2016



Edwards AFB

Kate in the bath

kate in a bubble bath

cal tech lotus

Lotus flowers at Cal Tech, March 2016

Cal Tech poster hi res

poster at Cal Tech in the Robert P. Sharp lecture hall

challenger mmmm

Not my musclecar but mmmm

charles chase image by kate

Charles Chase, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, March 2016

Randys Donuts LAX

Randy’s Donuts, LAX




Always, after periods of learning and study and creation and dreaming and engineering and taking apart and putting together and giving up and starting over and never giving up and always starting over, there comes a point at which new things explode through me into Terran space.

Tucson Sky, August 2012, by unit of life Kate McKinnon

Human questions and concerns swirl around me during these times; birth is never something with sure results; each time something is laid on the table something is lost as well as gained. Most times, there is a pain of emergence, a tearing through places that you might think that nothing could go. Yet like a river, new life comes, and takes what it will for creation.

Men talk about making something out of nothing; what can they mean by this?

I surrender to the golden

Nothing is made out of nothing and what is born on this Earth tears inexorably through what came before it; sometimes this is a mountain or an ocean or a cell or a membrane of the universe; so often that it is statistically unremarkable it is through the heart or the living body, the ocean of a woman.

And we give birth in fields as often as we do in soft hospital beds; this is what we do, and sometimes it is forgotten in larger conversations such as “where do things come from?”

Also, the palo verde flowers are falling onto the ground.


angels in a hallway

 I had an incredible realization this morning about our ability to go back into our past (ah, the time axis) and be present in a memory.

Horse and Venetian Carousel in Paris, photo by Kate McKinnon, 2011

For example, we can go back into a moment (perhaps into a hallway where a mother is on the floor, shrinking from an angry father) and we can stand there, silently, in active love and protection. We would bring to that room our awareness, and it would be across time. Each participation in the experience would be anchored at a further point in spacetime, each participation could be with the full current self.

And it must be true that if we stand there enough (whether of time or intention) our active being in the moment could affect the system of the actual experience; we can stand in the string and vibrate it in all directions. For example, that woman, that mother, just might (if she has the seeing) be able to look up and see angels, loving her and giving her strength. Or the boy in that moment might feel a deep vibration; he may have awareness blossom in him at that moment that goes beyond the shock of casual cruelty (which, by the way, is a thing that is routinely dished up in the name of disappointed love.)

Good Morning Horse

Maybe an experience like that day is one of those lever points in the crossing of interaction and experience and time for the boy … maybe if the moment is accessed from multiple points in time, he will become more anchored in the true nature of things; in a moment that somehow never ends he can grow deeper and stronger in a bond of understanding with the man he will become. Those moments are vector points that we can go back to again and again, continually deepening awareness.

That man is, after all, always and forever standing behind him. What does that man bring? If the memory brings fear or anxiety, wouldn’t we make it somehow more difficult in that moment for the boy, do we not add to the echos of guilt and dread of a moment like that, a father threatening a mother? What if those future men that that boy would become were aware of the moment, were waiting for it, were already there and loving him unconditionally? Would it bring a more forgiving adult awareness to the unforgivable, would the experience of the boy gentle as a function of time?

If Wishes Were Horses

I cannot escape my scientific bent, and so I wonder how often is this practiced, this going back to be present in a moment? It could be used to undermine (naughty wizarding) as easily as to heal. I’ve used it in my own work as a tactic to connect; if someone holds me at arm’s length at one point on the time axis, and my need to connect with them is strong, instead of forcing the present I will access points elsewhere in the timeline.

That can tricky to do (time impersonates a directional line with great persistence, and I cannot leave my own line) and so I usually start with a place. If the person I want to connect with has walked over the same bridge over the same river twice a day for most of their life, by walking over that bridge (or being on or in that river) and intentionally thinking about that person, you will stick at a quantum level to the action that takes place in those places, and actions are stuck to the time axis, so they will communicate.

The more often you do this, surely the more familiar your vibration will become. We each have unique signatures in time, in physical space, in the way that we smell and think. We can in fact become oddly familiar to people we have not yet met.

Horse is Strong

A daily meditation of love and strength (especially targeted at a vector point like that) must inescapably be like a strong slow cosmic and quantum feed, titrating what is fed in as surely as a drug delivery patch.

This idea is not new (in fact it is not separate from the concept of prayer) but it feels like something more, like a deep docking point into something important about how experiences or rooms might fill and change as a function of time.

Dustin fiber by Sam Norgard
fiberwork by Dustin Wedekind
photos of Horse by Kate
Also:  If you need a reminder of what pure joy looks like, watch Laurie Anderson talk. And it’s not like she doesn’t know what loss feels like.

mission creep

Almost a year ago, I had a dream that my house was on fire. It was a moving experience; metaphor sailing into theater, into acceptance, and then moving into an awareness of responsibility to my surroundings, which demanded an action I was unaware I was about to take (calling a fire truck so that my personal spontaneous combustion wouldn’t light up the neighbors I didn’t know I had in the city I didn’t know I was in).

It was a progression; I appreciated the depth of it while I was experiencing it. I find that rare and beautiful, knowing that I am dreaming while still in the dream.  I wrote about it, and especially noted at the time the idea that even with metaphor, one must take care, because every maquette is a model, and every model has the potential to be a working model.

a momentIf I model myself alone, or with some manner of existential ache, am I modeling a moment, or a future, or is it fluid?  I have held myself apart from almost every level of society. Why?

Through collaboration, I’ve come to realize that I do mean something deeper than I realized by the term working model; it isn’t just a piece of a system that represents the rules and organization of a larger, possibly infinite form, it’s a model that is clean enough to entangle at a quantum level with the larger form.

If you can make that, and really hold it in your mind, then when you interact with the model, you also interact with and influence the system it is modelling. What level of interaction or influence depends on the quality of the model, and I think also the intention of the person making and using it. Entanglement through modelling isn’t voodoo; it’s more like voodoo uses the expressions of physics to be able to affect systems one cannot reach in other ways.

And know I know why Erik Demaine (my academic advisor at MIT) got that interesting look on his face when I asked him at what size our cherished Hypars and Warped Squares were working models of the infinite planar forms they modelled. Something deep passed over his face before he asked, “what do you mean specifically by a working model?” Did he wonder if I knew what I was asking?

Red Hypar in Kates lap

That experience of deconstruction is ongoing. In my life now there is another wave of it; of thee deep restless energy of life, the creation of books, the vaporization of outworn ideas or constructs, and the birth of structure where none existed previously. Making something out of nothing has always been my superpower, but man, is it costly at an elemental level, things get very thin and membrane-like; structure is revealed to be a collaboration of intention.

We have accreted some surprising collaborators for my green power push; the celebrated Boston-based ad man Ron Lawner, and the equally celebrated Charles Chase, director of the Revolutionary & Disruptive Technology programs at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.

Would it surprise you to find that in the hearts of these secret R&D defense labs such as the Skunk Works there are scientists and engineers working in peace, working on clean power and on the concept of human potential as it applies to healing our planet? It surprised me. Everything surprises me, except what doesn’t.  Chase says, “I work in a safe inside a safe.” Who knew what beauty was building along with machines of war?

Catch up on the progress of that work over at our web site, NinjasForScience.com.

And spare me a moment of your own inner peace, if you have a little well of it (like we keep coins in our ashtrays for toll bridges…) I am modelling a calm center, but not experiencing it.

For whatever reason, I am having to go back, way back, to find the signposts of my own heart. 1973 seems to be where this all really began, as suspected, foretold, and my God do I remember that year.