Seeing it through: Cora Greene turns stained-glass passion into profession

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 29, 2023

SALISBURY — Cora Greene retired from a 30-year career at Rowan Medical Center in March, but she didn’t sit still long.

Greene turned her love of working with stained glass into Salisbury’s latest downtown business — Glass Ingenuity.

Greene said she had a vision of the store in the works for a little while. 

“I started envisioning the idea probably a year before I retired,” Greene said. “Bill (husband) has certainly pushed me to be a visionary and to take the risk and do it.”

Then, the planning began.

“I had to think about wholesale accounts for the supplies I am selling,” Greene said. “I have learned so much because I did not know how to run a business.

“When I was at the hospital, you had someone from marketing, someone from supply chain, so they would do all that kind of work. Now, I had to do everything to put this together. It was really cool, and I grew a lot.”

Greene’s journey has been aided along the way. One fellow downtown business owner was particularly motivating.

“Cheryl Goins of Pottery 101 has been phenomenal,” Greene said. “I have been talking with her about this for two years, probably. She gave me a lot of good advice, and she kind of shared what she does, but she said to make it your own. Think about it from your perspective.”

Trying something new

Greene stumbled upon stained glass a decade and a half ago when she and a friend attended a workshop.

“My kids were younger, but it felt like all I was doing was taking care of my family, and I wanted something for me,” Greene said. “I signed up for a class with a friend.”

While her friend did not take a shine to stained glass, Greene fell in love.

“I kept taking classes for a long time, and eventually, I just bought my own equipment,” Greene said. “I dabbled in it for a long time, and it became one of my outlets when I was not working.”

Greene is offering Glass Ingenuity patrons the same glimpse that first ignited her passion.

“That’s why I am doing the workshops,” Greene said. “The perfect example is my friend and I when we went together to the class.”

At Glass Ingenuity, Greene will be offering single workshops as well as extended weeks-long classes.  

“Rather than having a huge commitment, like eight weeks for a beginning class, do a two-hour class where you get parts of it, and you leave with a little suncatcher at the end,” Green said. “I felt like that would be a good way to introduce it to folks, and then they could decide if they want to sign up for a beginners class.”

Greene said that she was trying to tailor her workshops toward the season. 

“We just did leaves and are going to do Christmas ornaments next,” Greene said. “We will probably do flowers in the spring.”

Workshops are $65, which includes all the materials.

“The full 8-week classes for beginners will be $285,” Greene said. “That will include all the supplies. They will leave with a little suncatcher and then a panel.”

On Thursday, Jourdan Hamme was strolling through downtown with her mother when they were drawn into Glass Ingenuity by the work hanging in the window. 

“Seeing all the panels of glass reminds me of art class,” Hamme said. “I think of when I had to make a project for Christmas, and it ended up being my mom’s earrings.

“It’s a little cliché to say, but the (sun)light, as you can see right now, hit the colors perfectly, and it led me to the door, and I walked in.”

While she has worked with numerous mediums, stained glass stood out to Hamme as a teenager. 

“It was the edge factor of being in high school and getting to play with glass,” Hamme said. “I feel like glass is a fundamental part (of life), kind of like pottery. It is something we take for granted. You have glasses in your cabinet, but you don’t really consider someone made (them). I feel like glass is one of those things we take for granted but always admire from afar.”

Hamme said she would like to take a workshop at Greene’s store.

In addition to the workshops, Greene plans to showcase local stained-glass artists.

“We are going to have a gallery component,” Greene said. “It’s going to be more towards the front.”

Do-it-yourselfers can find all the materials they need to work at home as well. 

“You won’t find this type of glass at Hobby Lobby,” Greene said of her selection.

Glass Ingenuity is located at the corner of South Main Street and East Fisher Street in downtown Salisbury.

It is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.