Category Archives: teaching

Survey about classes I’m forming.

If you are from the Phoenix, AZ area and would be interested in classes by me, or attending a hands-on social bead making group on a regular basis, please take my survey.

Right now I’m working on organizing a group of people who want to get together on a regular basis and sit around torches making beads and hanging out.  I’d demo a little and the rest would be free form.  The size limit is 10 people and the cost is for rented torch time.

As that goes on I will be formulating a series of classes and workshops also, when I figure out how much of a need or desire there is for classes by me.  These class would be above the beginner level.  That is, you need to know how to light a torch yourself and be able to make round-ish beads and pull a basic stringer.

Please take the short survey.  At the end there is an area for you to add your email address to the mailing list that pertains only to class information.  You don’t have to answer any of the survey questions to have your name added to the email list. This information will help me to serve your needs better!  Thanks!

How to Make a Glass Heart Bead

For a few years now I’ve been in search of the perfect, plump, heart press tool. I haven’t found it. So, I finally sat down to figure out just how to make one and I have to say, I think I like it much better than it might be from a press. There is something about a bead shaped naturally in the flame that has a sensuality to it. Curves and, for lack of a better term, juiciness. Juicy-ness? You can feel the life in it.

But anyway, this may already be out there somewhere but here’s what I came up with. (If you like this tutorial, be sure to subscribe, maybe even receive updates directly to your email, so you don’t miss a thing).

1. Of course, lay down an initial footprint of how big you will want your heart to be when finished. It may end up being a bit bigger, but not any smaller than this footprint. For this heart the hole will be running top to bottom.


2. Next, build up a cone shaped mass of glass on top of the footprint.

glass heart bead

3. Press flat with mashers or between two marvers. Make sure to leave at least one mandrel-thickness worth of glass above and below the mandrel to help avoid thermal cracking. (cracking that happens when the glass is thin and cools faster than the rest of the bead).

glass heart bead tutorial lori greenberg

4. Use a razor or other sharp knife tool to press in the start of your bead cleavage. Start at the top of the mandrel and press any glass not attached to the mandrel around the hole downward. Be gentle and careful not to break your bead release. Do this to both sides.

glass heart tutorial

5. Begin to build up glass for the ‘humps’ of the heart. It is better to do this in steps until you get the desired plumpness. If you try to add all of the glass at once it will be hard to manage while melting it.


glass heart bead


6. Re-establish your crease/cleavage lines with your razor tool being careful to not let the rest of your heart sag.


7. Now the tricky but exciting part. The part where you learn how to use heat and gravity! They don’t call me Bead Nerd for nothing…it really is exciting for me. Start to melt the bands of glass that you just added. I have found that it is best to turn your mandrel quickly back and forth while this glass melts in. Do not spin so quickly that centrifical force changes the shape of your heart. If you only turn one way, your heart will start to sag and droop rather than staying in a flat plane. Although, that could be a cool effect to experiment with.


At the same time you are doing this, every once in a while tilt your mandrel (while still turning back and forth) with the ‘humps’ in the downward position, as shown in the picture, so that they can travel a little up the mandrel and start to round out.


Re-establish your crease marks when necessary. This is important in order to achieve the plump effect of the heart. Don’t worry about the narrow end of the heart. Chances are it will start to get pointy and start to draw towards the top, we’ll fix that later.

8. You can stop here and go to step 10 to finish the bottom or you can add more glass as you did in step 5. This is where the plumping will really start to happen.

glass heart bead tutorial lori greenberg

9. Repeat the steps of melting in the glass while turning the mandrel back and forth and reinforcing the crease lines. Tilt your mandrel with the bottom of the heart pointing up as necessary to allow the ‘humps’ to travel downward until nice and rounded.

10. When you get the humps to where you’d like them it is time to fix the other end. Add a band of glass to the end of the heart.

glass heart bead

11. With the side of a flat marver, roll the end of the bead along it to narrow it to your liking. You can exaggerate this length to make a more stylized heart or work it at more of an angle for a more traditional heart. There are many variations you can explore.


glass heart bead tutorial lori greenberg

12. Proceed to decorate as you choose but be careful not to distort the shape of your heart. It will be hard to re-shape without disrupting your embellishment. Here is a picture where I made a purple heart with enamels . You can see the finished shape.

purple heart bead

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Arizona Society of Glass Beadmakers Demo Day…

b070512a01.jpgFinally, here goes my update from the Arizona Society of Glass Beadmakers‘ Demo Day. I’m experimenting with a new image uploading so these should be thumbnails that you can get to the larger picture from.

First up was Amanda Jeffrey. She is one of my favorite people that I met online and got to spend more time with in Tucson. Here you see her pulling stringer before she starts to demo a masking technique. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone so patient at the torch! Great control!

b070512a03.jpgNext up was me. Here I am being bossy before I start. I really have no idea what I was doing there but it looks like I’m telling someone where to sit or something. I had almost two hours to fill and made three beads. The first one was making a Monet in the shape of a Zoozii Focal Nugget.


Next I showed how to make a stitched bead and finally I showed how to make one of my new Elusive beads. There I am thinking, ‘ew, that sure isn’t doing what I wanted it to do’ or something of that sort. Very flattering picture don’t you think?


Next up was the infamous Jim Wuerfel who demonstrated boro hearts with things plunged up in them. Can you tell I’m not a boro person. Totally fascinating and I kept pinching myself from following the boro urge. He also does some fantastic murrini and signature cane. I know because he did mine exactly like my logo! He has a class coming up too for it. If you’re interested I can dig out the info…just email me.

b070512a10.jpgNext up was my first teacher, Marcia Kmack of Cave Creek Glassworks. She demonstrated how to blow shards and how to apply them. I think she must have applied about 25 layers of shards to her bead and got a really cool watercolor effect. Ok, maybe not 25 layers but a LOT. Another person with a lot more patience than I have!b070512a11.jpg

Next was a cool collaboration of Wendy Wyman and Cynthia Beach. I love it when people collaborate. Here is Wendy demonstrating how to make all kinds of different eyes for funky little faces and creatures. I’m not quite sure what she’s trying to convey here but I think this shot captures the essence of her whole portion. Just darn fun.b070512a12.jpg

Here is where Cynthia steps in and does the rest of the face. If you’ve ever seen one of her beads you’d know the detail we’re talking about here. She said she’s ‘anal’ but I think she’s just detail-oriented. I have a little vampire bead of hers that I traded for at the Gathering and it is very cool.

b070512a13.jpgNext up was Robin Foster demonstrating color mixing. We only got a tease of color mixing as she only had time for two but it was so cool (I love not-off-the-rod color) that I bought the one book she said that really broke it down, Drew Fritt’s Torch Worked Marble book.

b070512a14.jpgLast up was Adiel Garrison who demonstrated a starburst murrini. She even came prepared with a detailed handout. Ok, so I wasn’t thinking that far ahead…next time I’ll know…that was a very nice touch.

I can’t explain in words and pictures what a great day of demos it was.  Maybe you’ll just have to come and see next year.

Thank you to Penny Dickinson who provided the space and set this all up (I think.  Correct me if I’m wrong).  And thank you to Kathryn Guler (another of my favorite people along with Amanda) for sending me the disk of pictures.  There are lots more but I hit on the highlights.