Contemporary Geometric Beadwork

Claudia Furthner, Brenda Day, Kate McKinnon, Franklin Martin Jr., and Sarah Toussaint
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork
Each of these five designers are members of the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork research team.

Claudia lives in Linz, Austria and works as an educator and artist, and Brenda is a retired educator, who lives in England. Franklin Martin leads the CGB teaching team in the United States, and Sarah is from Belgium.

Kate McKinnon leads the CGB team and lives in the USA.

Each of these colourful pieces was designed to showcase a different aspect of our recent geometric or topological discoveries.

Claudia Furthner
PodCast Crown
Glass beads and thread
This crown by Claudia Furthner is a super-sized version of one of our groundbreaking casting models, a neatly folded polygon that we call a PodCast Bead.

The PodCast is a topological casting form in which the only active line is that of the edge. This model has 24 sides and each side is caught in the middle with an anchor bead, which bundles the 24-gon into a neat collection of connected sticks with a fully accessible edge.

Using this technique, very long (and structurally sound) lines of new beadwork can be taken intact off of the folded edge, and the entire process builds in a coherent, contained manner. PodCast Beads can sit on a small coin, but their total edge might be as long as an arm.

For fun, this PodCast Crown is shown with a new start growing on it - a blue and red Rick-Rack Bangle has been begun from loops thrown out in the air from 12 of the 24 available points. This section of the crown illustrates a different new way of starting work, introduced in our first book in 2011.

This method of "casting off" new lines from edges was one of our team's contributions to the field of sewn beadwork. Before the concept of casting models, new beadwork was assembled from loose beads, making it very difficult (or impossible) to create a new line that was sound from the beginning.

By sizing the PodCast Bead up to a crown, the significance of the topological edge as a tool is honored.

Fibonacci Sequence of Crabs
glass beads and thread
Brenda Day constructed this amazing series of hyperbolic paraboloids (hypars, or Warped Squares, as we call them in beadwork) arranged in Fibonacci sequences.

They form a ring that resembles origami crabs. For extra fun, Brenda used UV-reactive beads in this piece, and we will be able to show this with a small handheld UV light on the runway.
Messenger Cycle
glass beads and thread
This Kaleidocycle by Kate McKinnon has several special features and references discoveries made on team about Bricard linkages, most notably that if three of the sides of each of the tetrahedra are built with enough tension, the fourth face can be omitted or used as a door or a flap.

This was material to us for several reasons, but the most striking related discovery was that without the fourth faces, a set of mirror tetrahedra in their flat pattern form (six triangles arranged in mirror symmetry) could either take the shape of a butterfly or of a flower.

This led us to interesting discoveries about how things that look like flowers or butterflies may have the ability to suddenly self-organize into a chain of tetrahedra - and anything that can organize into a chain of tetras can also organize into Bricard linkages and do real work. This idea has fed into our how our materials science team is thinking about morphing, self-organizing surfaces.

In the Messenger Cycle, the vacancies are holding tiny messages for peace. Like a Tibetan prayer wheel, or prayer flags in the wind, the idea is that each time the cycle is turned, the messages are spread through momentum throughout the Universe. And everyone LOVES to turn Kaleidocycles.
Fibonacci Cowl
glass beads, thread, fabric
Franklin Martin is interpreting the Fibonacci series of Hypars shown in Brenda Day's and Ursula Raymann's Bridges entries as a wearable garment. This is a proposed piece that will be built for the Bridges show. Photo is of a single series, beaded by Ursula Raymann. Franklin's cowl will mimic this distribution.
Wearable Kaleidocycle Bangle
glass beads and thread
The Kaleidocycle is an engineering linkage discovered by French mathematician Raoul Bricard. In the 1970s it was interpreted in origami by the mathematician Doris Schattschneider and the graphic artist Wallace Walker.

Sarah Toussaint made this wearable piece an even more intricate study of the chain of tetrahedra by creating each of the tetras not from four simple triangles but from 12 tiny triangles joined into a set of four. The open centers add beauty and clarify the construction.
Claudia Furthner