The Process of Making Glass Face Beads

If you know me or have read any of my blogs you know that I have some challenges.  Bright colors used to be a challenge…I’m coming out of that one.  Florals.  Hearts.  Faces.   These are things that I wish I could do better and once in a while I’ll try again…usually to fail miserably and then not to think about it again for months.

Well, this week I picked up on faces again.  I’m not there, but I’m getting there.  At this rate I’ll be there in a couple years.  Maybe.  So here’s my progression…

I started out with Earl (over there on the right) who actually has a home now with someone that truly loves him.  Good thing too because it’s a face only a mother could love!  I swear I dated him though.  Earl was created in July 2006.  The bead, not the boyfriend.

So this time I started out and was inspired by a ceramic piece I saw in one of the clay magazines.  I also had the idea (still do) of making mini sculptures off the end of the mandrel so the hole only goes partway into the piece.  Smashing the bottom flat and using the hole out the top of their heads for some crazy hair or wire or something.  Here’s what they started out like:


I could tell it was going to take a lot of practice to get these to where I liked them but I was really digging the toothy smiles.  So I used my own rule of exploiting a characteristic.  That is, if there is one thing you like about an experimental bead, do a lot of it and exaggerate it.  So, this was born:


This smile-in-the-round used another favorite idea of mine.  Components.  I love disjointed things, or things that go together in odd ways.  So these choppers propelled me into working with facial components.  One bead for eyes, one for nose(s) one for teeth.  I wanted them to be able to move freely so I made eyes all the way around and noses all the way around too, just like the teeth so no matter how they moved, you’d always see a face.  Well…that just took it one step too far and didn’t work:


I could tell there were parts that I liked though and decided to go back to the teeth/smiles and scrap the component idea for now.  This is what came out next, with added looped ear lobes that I’m going to make earrings for.


Did I mention that these finally got named and that they grew butts?  Yes, they’re my Grin and Bear it series.


And that’s where I stopped.  I’ve been busy…I have lots more and they’re waiting for hair and earrings.  I’ll have try some for sale at my studio show next month and can’t wait to see the response.

Lori Greenberg blogs about beads and the business of beads from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. You can see more of her beads at her web site:


9 Responses to “The Process of Making Glass Face Beads”

  1. cathylybarger Says:

    DAAAAMMNN! Those teeth are the bee’s knees! I never thought I’d say this but I think I need an emoticon to express the admiration I’m feeling right now. (Don’t tell anyone I said that about the emoticon.)

  2. Nancy Says:

    HOLY $%#&!! You have been way busy – no wonder you haven’t called me back… :p

  3. Ellen Says:

    I sooooooooooo love the way your mind works, Lori. This post has given me a much better picture of who you are. We simply have to meet one day!

  4. Sheila Morley Says:

    Everything they said!
    I am really enjoying your flow, girl!

  5. Angie Garren Says:

    The teeth! I love the teeth! These faces have so much fun character in them! Great job, Lori!

  6. tracybeads Says:

    I love those teeth! Great job and very cute idea with the “grin and bare it” series, they look like grinning monkeys.

  7. Art of the Firebird » Blog Archive » Best of the Week ending 11/11/2007 Says:

    […] Watch Me Create — The Process of Making Glass Face Beads […]

  8. SabrinaDesign Says:

    LOL Oh Lori!!! Those bunz cracked me up!!! Love it!!! And those teeth!!! LOL!!!

  9. Watch Me Create » The Face Beads are Growing Hair… Says:

    […] to the RSS feed or have it sent to you by email!. Don’t miss a thing!You’ve seen the start of the face beads. I sold a handful of them at my studio tour last week and the week before. They were definitely a […]

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