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  • Writer's pictureLynne Kornecki

A Glass Design Side Hustle Becomes a Successful Retirement Enterprise for Two Artistic Former Teachers

Clever glass vase looks like a fringed placemat that has been folded! View more of the Wilson's beautiful designs below...


Carolyn and Len Wilson founded their glass business –The Glass Haus-- as a side hustle in 1982. What started out as a passionate hobby has turned into a solid business keeping them busy full-time in retirement and traveling across many states selling their work.


Before retiring into full-time glass making, they were both teachers – Len in Graphic Design and Carolyn in Home Economics.


Len designed what became their first product – a jewelry box – for Carolyn as a gift. Showing it to others generated more gift requests which turned eventually into participation in local craft shows as they accrued an inventory.


Eventually, they developed 20-25 different jewelry box designs and sold an amazing 25,000 to 30,000 over the course of 25 years.


An example of one of the many jewel boxes they have created.


From stained glass to fused glass, their artistry and their expanded product line morphed over the years to meet changing fads and fashions keeping them current in the marketplace. They also developed a loyal following of customers from their repeat appearances in shows. This year alone they are booked for 17 shows across such states as Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.


Their design inspiration is soundly rooted in nature. Each design they craft is an original that includes many favorite subjects -- a glass fishbowl, birds, trees in all seasons and flowers.


You'll never find these fish floating on the top -- ha!!


View these and more at their website listed below.

Prices range from small glass magnets at $7 to large glass panels at $350-375 each. Their most popular product is a panel of glass that shows trees in all four seasons. The best-selling bird is a cardinal. They offer a large inventory for each show that includes several hundred items!


If you have a special window in your home or office you’d like to replace with a custom glass beauty, the Wilsons accept commissions. Shop online at their website and learn more here:


Phone: 815-459-5849


An example of a custom project they created for a client.


Beautiful glass dish bursting with color.





Carolyn Wilson poses inside their booth at the recent Wilder Park outdoor art fair in Elmhurst, IL.

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