John Bead’s Donation to Contemporary Geometric Beadwork


John Bead was established in 1954 by Fritz John, whose desire was to introduce the quality and timeless elegance of Czech crystal culture into the world of western DIY crafts and design.

Our 65th anniversary was last year, and we wanted to do something special to commemorate this milestone.  We also made our 65th year the one in which we made our biggest investment in our website and our company spent most of the year focused on an entirely new platform, new inventory system, new warehouse management system and more.  We had to set aside anniversary planning.

But, the search for a special project did not end.  As a company primarily focused on beads we have the opportunity to watch and support many companies and designers creating wonderful products and events focused on beads, beadwork and bead education.  One group kept appearing in our social media coverage and we had to take a closer look.

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork (CGB) is an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators.

Interweave online magazine said it best when they wrote “CGB is A Social Revolution in Beads.”

When speaking about Kate McKinnon and her desire to understand bead stitches they said “Geometric pioneers who had come before her had done beautiful demonstrations of vessels, ropes, and polygons. But what Kate had not seen yet were two important things: easy starts for large open pieces such as bangles, and leaping, soaring, self-supported architecture. Kate formed a collaborative team, and the work on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Volume I began.

The ideas were edgy, and the project was open-source; it was clearly an unusual endeavor. Kate blogged about new ideas as soon as they occurred to the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork (CGB) team, and beady geniuses around the world grasped the information and executed demonstrations,which they published; thus new iterations were born. The technical sections of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Volume I and Volume II were free to all before the books were published, and they remain free on the team site today.”

This is a truly remarkable endeavor.  Kate and her team have been working around the clock and around the constraints of the pandemic on the release of Volume III of their groundbreaking book.

They also have several amazing events on the horizon, one of which is the opportunity to exhibit at the Singapore ArtScience Museum which will focus strongly on indigenous and First People beaders.  Their goal for that exhibit requires a worldwide effort of beading talent and many, many beads.

2020 is a huge year for this one of a kind, open source and education based non-profit.  Their new book release will fund scholarships, stipends and opportunities for many beaders hit hard by the realities of 2020.  It has been a ten-year plan to make this year their biggest year and our company is proud to play a small role in supporting their work.

So, without any strings, plans for logo placement, contracts or deadlines of any kind we have shipped to CGB a pallet of beads today.  It is the single biggest donation of beads we have ever made.  We send it knowing that the beads will be shared around the world and with good luck, we will see the beads in an exhibit in the not too distant future.

We need to thank a few people.  Our warehouse team gathered and packed the donation during a time our company really should have been working on packing orders.  It was a huge request and we are grateful they made the time even though our full team is not working.    To Mike and Daniel John our company leadership,  thank you for taking this proposal and more than doubling the planned donation.

When we look back, we will always be reminded about what happened around the world in the spring of 2020.  For John Bead, we will have this good deed to remember.  Happy belated Anniversary John Bead.

Carmi Cimicata
John Bead Marketing and Prototypes Manager

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Website

The full article about CGB by Interweave

You can also read more in the current June/July issue of Beadwork Magazine.

13 thoughts on “John Bead’s Donation to Contemporary Geometric Beadwork”

  1. Our team is deeply grateful and excited to be able to move forward with our global exhibits and contemporary explorations of indigenous/First People’s beadwork from all over the world.

    We are stretching through all of the arts and sciences on our open source team, and every time we turn around we see that the fundamental knowledge and relationships of the physical world can all translate to beads. Cells, pixels, molecules, data points, individuals… they are all modeled as beads.

    And then we turn around again, and we see that our ancestors have already recorded so much knowledge in their own beadwork and patterning, and we understand that it’s time to listen, and begin to match what we know to what we have always known.

    Thank you so much to the entire John Bead family for your forward motion for these ideas, and for your generosity. As you said, spring 2020 will live forever in our memories, and how nice it is to have a different kind of anchor for this moment as well; the time our project started the next phase of our learning; looking backward.

  2. How awesome of you all to do this! Thank you from this one part of the beading community!

  3. Wow! How very, very, very generous of your company. This makes me feel good about humanity again; something I have seen mostly disappear lately and was missing it. Kate has done so much, all on her own time, even had a few setbacks but has managed to carry on in spite of them.
    I love beading geometrically designed objects, so thank you for supporting this bead group!
    Janet Gunther

  4. Truly a remarkable gift! As one beader who has been working with the CGB concept for these past few years, I know how hard they (The CGB Team) have worked to achieve their goals! They have preserved through many challenges and this gift brings an infusion of excitement and hope to all those involved. Your generosity will fuel the creative fires to new heights! Much gratitude to you and your staff… and a very happy anniversary!!!

  5. I only dabble in beading — and because of that, am woefully unaware of many of the names of bead manufacturers. Not any more! I will forever know your name, and look for your beads, as the result of this generous donation. Thank you for supporting the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork experiment in such a tangible way.

  6. Thank you all for your support of this creative effort geometric beadwork has taken on a whole new meaning. Your wonderful!!

  7. Thank you so much for your support to this project. I have followed along on this journey with Kate in the lead, her ability to inspire beaders around the world with such passion and enthusiasm is such a delight to behold. I have learned so much and been inspired to embrace new techniques and share, share, share.
    Kind regards
    New Zealand

  8. What an absolutely fantastic and generous donation! Beading is such a wonderful outlet for creativity for so many of us, and the concepts and teaching Kate and her team have shared have changed our world forever.
    On behalf of all the beaders that await with anticipation the third book, thank you for helping them along their journey.

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