SOCORRO, N.M., January 18, 2001 -- Two years ago, Greg Shore reluctantly agreed to attend a New Mexico Tech Community College course in stained glass. Today, the 2000 Tech graduate spends 60 hours a week creating stained glass artwork, and is having his first exhibit at Tech's Macey Center.
Visitors to Macey Center will have an opportunity to meet Shore and see his work at an artist's reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 in Macey's upstairs lobby. "A Night in Vienna" by the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque will follow at 7:30 p.m. as part of Tech's Performing Arts Series.
"I'm hooked," said Shore of his new career. "I get up at 6 a.m., grab a cup of coffee and a water bottle, turn on the grinder and get to work. Sometimes I'll think, 'Damn, I'm hungry,' I look at the clock, and it's already 1:30 in the afternoon," he said.
It wasn't always so. Shore recalls Tech counselor Elaine Debrine Howell encouraging him to add a two-semester course in stained glass to his curriculum, as a stress-reliever complement to the calculus class he was taking. Socorro stained glass artist Donna Deckard taught the class.
"I didn't know anything about stained glass," said Shore, adding that he had never before taken a drawing class, or explored any other art medium. "I sat there and told Elaine, 'I'm going to go (to the class) two times, and that's it. I ended up going for four semesters."
Shore's stained glass works already have won him fans. In addition to the collection on display at Macey Center, Shore is working on half a dozen commissioned pieces, "which should keep me booked until March," he said.
The collection at Macey includes a jeweled scene, a horse and rider picture, and even a whimsical rendition of Marilyn Monroe's famous sidewalk grate moment from the movie, "The Seven Year Itch."
Shore says he finds inspiration in photographs, and then mentally segments the scene into a stained glass format, choosing colors from a collection of spectrum glass samples. He works in a 12-by-13-foot room filled with bins of glass and tools.
Moving into a new career in midlife is not the only change Shore has undergone. After working for years as an industrial electrician, Shore suffered a stroke on Oct. 5, 1992, that left him without the use of his right arm. And so, at the age of 46, Shore was forced to reinvent his life.
A year and a half after the stroke, Shore returned to the college classroom and earned two degrees at Northland Pioneer College in Show Low, Ariz., graduating Phi Theta Kappa with a GPA of 3.86 on a 4.0 scale.
"I had several offers to go to a four-year university," he said. "Five schools contacted me, and one of them was New Mexico Tech."
Shore said he chose Tech because of its small size. "I fell in love with it," he said, adding that the school also was close to the family home in Show Low.
Shore and his wife, Gloria, were used to a work routine that had Shore on the road six months of the year, from the molybdenum mines in Tonapah, Nev., to a job as a computer technician in Reno, Nev.
The artist was born in Quebec, Canada, and immigrated to Southern California with his parents at the age of 13. Shore joined the service in 1964 and left four years later after three tours in Viet Nam.
While in the military, Shore had a cyst removed from his neck, a procedure that left him with a carotid artery half its original size, which led to the stroke he suffered 25 years later. The former right-handed man now creates artwork with his left hand, a process that even his instructor once tried to copy.
Since receiving his bachelor's degree in general studies from New Mexico Tech last May, Shore has returned to the home he shares with Gloria in Show Low. The family home had been vacant for seven years before the Shores moved there in 1989.
"I had always loved Show Low, the White Mountains and everything else," he said. "I remember saying, 'If I move to Show Low, I am not leaving.'"
Perhaps not, but Greg Shore has left his mark on Tech and Socorro, a colorful one at that.
-- NMT --