Inspiration comes in many ways. I recently saw a beadable bookmark with a heart design, and I thought, "A dangly heart would look so pretty on the end of that!" So, naturally, I next wondered if I could make one. At my first opportunity on my torch, that is exaclty what I tried to do. There is a way of making glass art called "off-mandrel." This means the artist does not wind the glass on a release-covered glass rod, and instead does everthing on the end of a glass rod (called a punty), removes the piece from the punty, and places it in the kiln. I've had poor luck at off-mandrel work in the past; I usually end up dropping my piece on my table (I have the burn marks to prove it!). However I recently began using a new method to make twisties; I learned about adding the glass to the end of a clean mandrel, and pulling the twistie that way. I decided to try to actually make the entire heart on the end of a clean mandrel. I don't know if this has been done before (it probably has), but that is how I decided to try it. I added my glass, shaped my heart, formed the loop, then heated and pulled the heart of the clean mandrel and popped it into my kiln. I made two attempts, and then waited quite impatiently until the next morning when the kiln had cooled.
I was very pleased with the result! In my humble opinion, they came out fabulous! I was so excited that I spent the entire torch session that afternoon on making hearts, and I made a nice raku pendant in that same manner. I think this technique is a valuable one with lots of potential, and I can't wait to see what else I can do with it...after I make some more hearts, that is!