Proceeding through to the opening of the CGB Pattern Library (so soon now I can taste it) and to the publication of the second volume of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork is like sailing a ship that changes form on a sea that changes planets. Different people call to me from shore, photographs arrive in bottles. People pester me to finish, but I am impervious to all demands except the expectation that the work will be the best it can be, and, unlike the first book, that it be accessible to everyone.
Irina Kanngiesser flower

flower, Irina Kanngiesser

Annoyingly/excitingly, I continue to learn groundbreaking things about our most basic maneuvers, but the more complex the concept, the more I am obligated to tame it, to downsize it, to condense it to a sugar cube that can osmose into others, that can dissolve on the tongue of even the laziest mind.

I both resent and relish this, as in a cosmic twist, it drives excellence.

(This reminds me of the mind-blowing realization yesterday that the month of astonishing excess of consumption by The Insiders, who stayed at the Ranch for a period of exactly one month, was the data point that made me 100% sure about our maximum need for kilowatts, allowing us to configure the solar power system to be able to guarantee us all the power we can eat. COSMIC. Also cosmic that Tucson now has a program to put solar power on our houses with no investment from the homeowner. We dance in joy, but the new guilt-free power math is hard to understand: all lights are now solar lights, for example. What? I exult over my hoard of beautiful incandescent bulbs..)

trick light

When I put out the first CGB book, I basically threw up my hands, because I knew that only a certain segment of beaders would be able to take the ideas and run with them. It was questionable in my own mind as to whether or not I could have been in that victorious bunch (I felt like Frank Zappa, who said that his own outrageous standards of musicianship actually meant that he himself would not make his own band); I was a very dull study indeed both learning the basics and when it came to reading other people’s patterns. To this day, Jean Power’s Power Puff Bangle is the only pattern I have ever followed, and it took me months to fully grasp even the Basic Flat Triangle (the simplest possible expression of shape in the book). I was an idiot, wrapped in a fool, covered in stupid sauce.

Yet… I had ideas.  There didn’t seem to be much architectural thinking on how to start dimensional peyote; there was zero concept of foundation in a wiggly peyote start and my inner engineer shivered with distaste just contemplating one.

Luckily, Dustin Wedekind shared my aversion and between us, we developed the MRAW Band. Dustin drove the threadpath, which creates a mathematically perfect, exquisitely balanced thread matrix, and I adapted the architecture to begin the shape from the first pass, by coding the start to grow in certain directions. The different Bands, Straight, Zigged, and Jigged, were like family DNA.

Kateflowers 2 web

Words, words, words. If we have enough of them, I can make a world. And then if I can pare that world down to only its bare bones, I have a formula.

I find that I have to be very disciplined in all facets of life to succeed at this task, that other people are very distracting, and that some pages, like the Introduction to Sizing and Tailoring, I have literally worked on for a month, slowly, patiently whittling them down from many pages into two. There could well be typos; at this point of familiarity, I must rely on the Edit Team.

Just this morning, I spent four hours on that dratted two-page spread, honing, throwing out cherished lines, enforcing boundaries and insisting that I find a way to communicate within them. And I’m probably not finished. Now I need to see what my editors think.

Sizing Intro Proof, CGB Volume II, Kate McKinnon

To accomplish the feat of pouring another precious day of my life into this spread, I refused to allow myself to check the setlist for the first Ferry show of the tour, played last night in Vancouver, or to check my email to see if I had edits back on the Basics pages from Cath or Karen. I turned off the email and the Internet.  And then after those four hours, I marched myself over here to write this down. Now, fully six hours after Miss Fish poked and patted me out of bed to say good morning to Venus, glittering in the Eastern sky, I think I’m ready to unbend. There is no other way.

It’s wonderful and terrible. As my friend Bill Hartmann says, “the only thing worse than having a book in production is not having a book in production.”

8 thoughts on “discipline

  1. Wow… my flower… Thank you, Kate! And I just want to say a huge “Thank you” for your great post of my Fortuneteller last week!
    I’m pretty sure that you do great work for Vol. II, and I can’t wait to hold the book in my hands : )

  2. Bonjour, et voilà je viens d’acheter le format PDF de CGB, depuis le temps que je voulais le faire !!!
    Je suis ravie, je vais enfin pouvoir essayer de faire ces magnifiques créations.
    Cordialement, maryy

    Hello, and here I just bought the PDF format CGB, since the time that I wanted to do!
    I’m glad I’ll finally be able to try to make these beautiful creations.
    Sincerely, maryy
    (google translation)

  3. Wasn’t it Charlton Heston (as Michelangelo in the movie, painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) who replied to the Pope’s (portrayed by Rex Harrison) daily question of “When will it be done?” with “When it is finished!!” Seems to me that says it here too. Though with all the brilliant ideas and variations we’ve seen, it’s obvious this will NEVER end, there’ll be hundreds of new versions and offshoots… Kate, if you ever decide to do a printed Vol III you’ll have a bazillion sales. Even though so much can be done online, a book just has that extra oomph. Just enjoy the process, I know I am. And at some point in the not very distant future there will be Vol II in my mailbox just brimming with gorgeous inspiration and we’ll all be grinning for weeks. Of course I can’t wait; but I will, because I know how much effort and talent and thought and collective creativity are going into it and it deserves to be done right.

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