BCP 10 | Geometric Beadwork with Kate McKinnon

Kate Hat Red WebIn my interview with Kate McKinnon, we discuss architecture, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and the ever morphing concepts in her latest work, Contemporary Geometric Beadwork. I hope you enjoy the interview!

54 days until the Bead & Button Show! I want to have a Bead Circle meetup of some kind where we all have lunch or dinner. I would love to meet listeners in person and hear your ideas and opinions. If you will be attending the show and want to meetup, email me at mandi@beadcircle.com. I will get back to everyone with the date and time after I see how many are interested.

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Layers in progress Kate McKinnon 2013

Want to win a copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork? All you have to do is leave a comment answering this question:

“What building or natural structure inspires you the most?”

Include links to your images because Kate will also create a piece of beadwork using the winner’s inspiration! Be sure to include your email address and I will choose the winner next Thursday.

Update: The winner of the copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork is Ronel Durandt! Kate was grateful to be reminded about the biological sketches of Ernst Haeckel. I agree, fabulous inspiration!

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • avatar Mary Kearney April 4, 2013, 11:42 am

    I love the Guggenheim Museum!

  • avatar sue charette-hood April 4, 2013, 3:03 pm

    I love all your podcast guests but I want to self publish so this one was very pertinent for me. My geometric bead work is horrid but I am now inspired to try again….
    Thanks Mandi

  • avatar Deborah Bergen April 4, 2013, 3:28 pm

    I love Kate and already have the book and looking forward to the next. Would love to give away one as a gift!
    I love what she said about making things to put together and not just what it will be at the end. I don’t have just one thing that inspires me, so many things do.
    Thanks Mandi and Kate.

  • avatar María Esther April 4, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Lo que más me inspira es una enredadera que se llama MADRESELVA, incluso hay un tango que se llama así y es hermoso.
    Desde Buenos Aires, mil gracias a Mandi y a Kate por su generosidad!!!!!

  • avatar Pam Boudreau April 4, 2013, 8:54 pm

    What inspires me? That’s a good question. I’m stumped. I need inspiration. I get frustrated too often. I start a piece and somewhere along the way I feel it’s not turning out the way I expect or it doesn’t look right or i think I must had done something wrong and take it apart. Too many time that has happened. You ask for a building or a natural structure. My first thought would be Niagara Falls. I love the blues, greens and the way they mix. Then there is the lights that at night shine on the falls and change colours. It is very beautiful. I wish I could show you a picture.

  • avatar Becky Karas April 4, 2013, 9:51 pm

    My favorite structure would be Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Its design is a perfect complement to its surroundings.

  • avatar Sue April 4, 2013, 10:02 pm

    The Opera house in Sidney Australia is my favorite. I would love to win the book. I would give it as a gift to my BFF.

  • avatar Romana April 5, 2013, 4:00 am

    I love Kate’s beading and book. My inspiration is everything around me, but i have one beautiful place, I love to go there anytime and feel long history and big power

  • avatar Ralonda April 5, 2013, 7:00 am

    My comment to Kate—Thank you so much for making Mandi fall in love with math!!!
    Just to share my favorite architectural influence (besides bare trees in winter), I spent my teenage years in New Orleans and I love the blend of French, Spanish, and English architecture. The columns, arches and doorways were mesmerizing. The pinnacle of these building would be the public library on St. Charles. I spent many afternoons on the porch, grass and even inside this beautiful building. http://artsneworleans.org/events_framed/for_venue/3074
    I already have a book, and a book to donate to the school’s library so please exclude me from the drawing.

  • avatar Marcia Acker-Missall April 5, 2013, 11:24 am

    I am so excited by Kate’s work. When I see her pieces I am overwhelmed by the thought and imagination plus the engineering of her unique pieces. To win her book would be precious to me.
    My favorite example of architecture is “The Dancing House” by Frank Gehry
    the link to a photo is: http://www.aviewoncities.com/prague/dancinghouse.htm

  • avatar Chris White April 5, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Kate, Volumn I is an amazing work of art with great inspiration throughout. Congratulations to all of you. I look forward to Volumn II. One of my favorite structures of inspiration is: a very geometric bldg: Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pittsburgh PA. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bp2.blogger.com/_7y1svI96Atk/SJc1g5YKYwI/AAAAAAAAAGw/9xZS7tkScWU/s400/falling%2Bwater%2B.jpg&imgrefurl=http://architecturalguidance.blogspot.com/2008/08/falling-water.html&h=330&w=400&sz=48&tbnid=4OzF-w0jjU6keM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=112&zoom=1&usg=__T6YZ1gITxN4IrZ6Nl4r72KcP6JY=&docid=3zwck9H3apd5zM&sa=X&ei=kjJfUdDTKaaO0QGKsYGADg&ved=0CDUQ9QEwAA&dur=1695

  • avatar Cicily Tarapchak April 5, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Oh, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia without a doubt. I’ve been to Barcelona three time to see it, and hope to see it one more time. The swirling towers reach to the sky for the glory of God. It is so intricate, diverse, and overwhelming that it would be a real challenge to capture it in beadwork.

  • avatar Cicily Tarapchak April 5, 2013, 6:49 pm

    Here is a link to the Sagrada Familia. sagradafamilia.cat/sf.eng/
    If that doesn’t work, just Google Sagrada Familia. It’s worth a look. You may fall in love with Antonio Gaude too.

  • avatar CAROL April 5, 2013, 7:03 pm


  • avatar Rachel April 8, 2013, 9:48 am

    My favorites inspirations are flowers – so much variety:)

  • avatar Annelie Storbjork April 8, 2013, 10:55 am

    The Taj Mahal, India, inspires me, it’s so structured but still curvy and soft eventhough made out of stone. It is also inspiring with all details and patterns when you come close, outside as well as inside. If you look on wikipedia there some pictures. Tanks Mandi and Kate for your work, it’s also inspirational and means a lot to me.

  • avatar Ada Terrell April 8, 2013, 11:11 am
  • avatar Amanda April 8, 2013, 11:53 am

    I love Asian architecture. The curves, the colors… Very inspirational to me!


  • avatar June Josten April 8, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Things in nature inspire me. Colors and shapes of things I see out doors. Just one color on a butterfly might inspire me to make just an earring, or the shape of a bug on a leaf makes me want to make a vine necklace with one little bug in there. Its so hard to not see inspiration when I’m outside. Something like this will get my brain to whirling around with all sorts of ideas. http://www.gardenfun.com/

  • avatar Mandy Duffy April 8, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Sounds crazy, but I love Eastern State Penitentiary!

  • avatar Peggy April 8, 2013, 3:55 pm

    I made a beaded box based on the Jubilee Synagogue in Prague. The architecture is beautiful and fun, but I particularly love the use of color. https://picasaweb.google.com/104852851463538106699/EasternEurope2012?authkey=Gv1sRgCKu2h5CJs8WswAE#5765933383968152082

  • avatar Vanessa April 8, 2013, 4:47 pm

    The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas designed by E. Fay Jones. So majestic and peaceful.

  • avatar kate mckinnon April 11, 2013, 5:51 am

    I am LOVING all of these links to fabulous buildings. The Sagrada Familia is beautiful, I agree, and the catenary arches lend themselves well to beads but would be hard to wear. Those of you who suggest Asian architecture, we’ve already checked you off- have you seen my Pagoda bangles?

  • avatar Ingrid April 11, 2013, 6:00 am


  • avatar Susan Kunze April 11, 2013, 6:02 am

    Flowers continue to inspire me when I work in beads as well as in other media. I find inspiration in their changing shapes and colors.

  • avatar Fiona Millard April 11, 2013, 7:57 am


    Lincoln Cathedral is simply awe-inspiring, originally a Norman Cathedral, then rebuilt in the Gothic Era, it survived the British Civil war, and was once the tallest building in the World – well ok that was back in the 13th Century! It has Rounded Arches, the usual crosses, pyramidal roof’s, the most beautiful detailed vivid coloured stained glass windows – if you think in those days building this Cathedral was a job for life, no power tools, the creativity all taken from one book whether you believe in the Bible or not the building created is something amazing, a real achievement to the talents of those hardworking craftsmen. These days people use power tools, cranes, scaffolding etc in Norman times none of that was available just the humble human with a bag / box of probably handmade carving tools to create a piece of art that would last til eternity (effectively!), no pattern just imagination & inspiration from one book of stories. The Magna Carta was signed there, and showbiz update The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks was also filmed in and around the Cathedral. I love the book Kate, and would be happy to donate it to a worthy cause of your choosing if I won, a piece of beadwork from you however I would treasure forever (selfish I know but your work is outstanding and something I aspire to be half as good as) – thank you for providing me beading inspiration you have re-awoken my desire to get my beads out again x

  • avatar Ronel Durandt April 11, 2013, 9:09 am

    natural structures such as those depicted in the sketches of biologist Ernst Haeckel inspire me the most!

  • avatar Sara Miller April 11, 2013, 2:54 pm

    I love the shapes of this building. It looks like some from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

  • avatar Allie Rostek April 11, 2013, 3:12 pm


    This building inspires me, first by it’s colors. I love the blues, yellows and white hues. Second, this shapes are just so amazing. Third, the markings and patterns are a real inspiration to help make a beautiful piece of jewelry.

  • avatar Melly Glass April 11, 2013, 3:30 pm

    This building is truly amazing. I love way the windows are imbedded in the walls of the building and the balconies and stained glass windows are just a thing of beauty.

  • avatar Karen April 11, 2013, 3:57 pm

    This is a hard question!! But since I have to choose, I would say Mt. Everest. I have been fascinated at that mountain for years! I’ve read books about it, seen movies… it inspires me because I want to go that high in my life. I can see it and feel it… it’s like there’s some energy on the mountain that’s calling to me to drop everything I don’t need and keep going up to see everything that’s there for me. Sigh…

  • avatar Irina April 11, 2013, 4:15 pm

    To Kate: I’m in love with your beautiful work!
    My inspiration is New York City, all the fantastic buildings, and Bauhaus.
    I would love to win this fantastic book!

  • avatar kate mckinnon April 11, 2013, 4:41 pm

    Melly Glass, that building is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and one of my long-time favorites.

  • avatar Heather April 11, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Many buildings inspire me for many different reasons! If you get to go to Bead and Button in Milwaukee, Santiago Calatrava’s Art Museum is spectacular – his structual abilities with space and perfection in detailing are a wonder. https://www.google.ca/search?q=calatrava+milwaukee&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca:IE-Address&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA421&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=d05nUa-9GIWCyQGtw4HoAw&ved=0CD4QsAQ&biw=1600&bih=1019

  • avatar Jenny Sangster April 11, 2013, 5:11 pm

    I love finding inspiration in nature and all of it’s naturally occurring architecture. For example sand dunes, an unfurling fern frond. I particularity love italian broccoli! Vegies seems so dull, but stop thinking of it as a vegetable and just look at the amazing design of it. A perfect display of expanding centrifugal horns. http://ih2.redbubble.net/image.3594066.0320/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg

  • avatar Ann Rishell April 11, 2013, 8:02 pm

    I have this wonderful book, but would love to gift one to my beady friend. my favorite place in the whole world is the Place des Vosges in Paris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_des_Vosges
    The wonder quoins on the buildings, the Bleu, blanc, rougue architecture, the vaults under the arcade, all is wonderful! And I haven’t even started about the geometric shapes of the trees in the square’s park!

  • avatar kate mckinnon April 12, 2013, 10:41 am

    I must admit that the Ernst Haeckel drawings have been the most consistent unexplored exploration in the life of my mind; I must vote with Ronel Durandt on this one!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth April 12, 2013, 11:51 am

    Thank you all for posting such fabulous inspirations! Mine inspiration is the Eiffel tower. I’m a minimalist in a lot of ways and I just love how sleek, modern, and iconic it is.

    The winner of the copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork is Ronel Durandt! Kate was grateful to be reminded about the biological sketches of Ernst Haeckel. I agree, fabulous inspiration!

  • avatar Peggy April 12, 2013, 1:28 pm

    You ladies “made me look”! The Ernst Haeckel drawings are incredible! Congratulations Ronel!

  • avatar samantha stallings November 18, 2013, 10:07 am

    I have been all over the world from France to Germany to Illinois to Maryland, the place that most inspires me is the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The first time I visited there I got such a sense of spiritual oneness with my self that I have never have felt since. It was an amazing feeling of belonging to this country that it is hard to put into words.

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