About Margie Shanahan

5D-IMG_3642I create the large glass beads in my jewelry and mixed media pieces using glass rods and an oxygen/propane torch. I mostly use Italian glass for my work; I love the quality and color palette. I melt the glass, then wind it onto a stainless steel post where I continue to construct the piece. All work on the bead—building, layering, shaping, embellishing with frits, stringers, metals–is done while the bead is in the flame.

I worked with crafts and stained glass for a number of years until 2000 when I saw a hot glass bead demonstration. I was enthralled! Since then, I’ve been “on torch” as much as I can and have had opportunities to work with some incredible glass bead artists and glass masters through workshops and classes. 5D-IMG_1557

I am inspired by the world around me–my family and my home, the flora and fauna from my garden and my travels, the promise of “the final frontier,” and my 30 years in the high school English classroom teaching creative writing and literature.

I am also inspired by the energy and joy of my own glass bead students. My beads become pendants, focal points in necklaces and bracelets, slides for larger chains and cords, and elements in mixed media pieces. I donate specially made beads to the Beads of Courage program at Children’s Hospital (Omaha NE) and the Beads of Courage international program. I would not be where I am without the support of some special organizations:

  • International Society of Glass Beadmakers was the only on-line support when I started making beads. They were and continue to be today a wonderful international community of glass bead enthusiasts.
  • Midwest Lampworkers Guild is our local group of glass and bead enthusiasts. I helped found the group in 2001, and it has evolved into an active supportive group that nurtures its members, encourages our artistic growth through several local shows and exhibitions, and supports Beads of Courage locally.

On-going Displays/Exhibitions:

Hitchcock (Joslyn Museum) Gift Shop—Work shown since 2002
Studio 304 at Hot Shops Art Center—Working/teaching studio since 2006

Juried Art Shows/Exhibitions:

Rockbrook Village Art Fair, Omaha NE—2003 to present
Phelps Mill Festival, Battle Lake MN—2004 to present
Countryside Village Art Fair, Omaha NE—2011 to present
ArtSarben Art Fair, Omaha NE—2012
Passageway Art Gallery—Dec 2000 to Jan 2014


The Glass Bead: Tutorials and op-ed articles
The Flow: Individual beads published as part of Women in Glass series
Profitable Glass Quarterly: Op-ed articles

International Society of Glass Beadmakers Juried Exhibitions:

Convergence III—Inspirations and Interpretations (2011): Collaborative work with jewelry artist
Arts of Engagement—Beyond a Glass Bead (2011): Pendant show, Louisville KY
Surface—Beads of Internal Depth and External Decoration (2012): Individual bead show
Convergence II—Adorning the Past, Present and Pretend (2010): Collaborative work with jewelry artist
Perspectives (2010): Individual bead show

Related Experience:

International Society of Glass Beadmakers: 2000 to present

  • Regional Director and District Director 2006-2009
  • Director of Education 2009-2013

Passageway Art Gallery: 2000 to 2014

  • Experience as featured artist; served as secretary and on various committees

Midwest Lampworkers Guild: 2001 to present

  • Founder; served as president, secretary; current treasurer

Instructor—Glass beadmaking: 2001 to present

Papillion-LaVista Public Schools: 1979 to 2009

  • English teacher, various extra-duty and committee work