From the heart

Matt Tupper

photo by shannon rooney

A few years ago, Matt Tupper had a heartfelt idea that promises to go big: His delightful hearts—made from glass, stone, shell, marble, brick and other materials—have been picked up by the major wholesale bead distributor Da Beads (of Chicago), and he’s working on a plan for his business, From the Heart, that he envisions will employ a number of people locally. The hearts can be used in myriad ways (displays, art projects, mementos, etc.), including as jewelry (some of the hearts have small holes drilled into them). Tupper also plans to turn his house into a center where artists can work on their creations and teach and take classes. He can be reached at

How did you get your start with hearts?

Six years ago, I came to Chico from the Russian River area to take care of my parents. I had just tiled their bathroom in slate and had some leftover pieces, so I tried making a heart, and it went from there. I was just trying to bring a smile to my mom’s face. She said, “Make more!” So I did, and then I thought, well, I need to do something with them. I went to Bella’s Beads, and they let me make a display in one of their front windows using stone hearts and beads.

What kind of glass do you use to make hearts?

I usually use reclaimed glass. I’ll walk the creek beds and find old glass … I just love being in nature … and broken glass has always bothered me, so I just started picking it up. I said I’d do something with it someday, and I was cutting stone hearts, so I thought, I need to try making some hearts out of glass.

What’s on the horizon for you?

There’s a big bead trade show in Tucson in February, so that will be my debut. If I do well at the Tucson show … I could really go someplace. I would like From the Heart to become a part of Chico, a Chico-based company.

What do the hearts mean for you?

One of the biggest pleasures is when I give a heart to someone and it brings a smile to their face. I’ve used the hearts at funeral services and handed them out. For my mother’s service, I did pink marble, and for my dad, I did brown marble. They’re a perfect little thing, I’ve found, when sometimes you don’t have words but you have a lot of feeling, and handing people a little heart allows them to know that you’re there for them.