There’s no denying the beauty of painted glass. Some of the oldest and most beautiful church stained glass windows in the world employ the centuries old technique of applying acrylic paint to clear and colored glass pieces to add detail and control light transmission. Notable examples include the Augsburg Cathedral stained glass windows, Christ of Wissembourg in Strasbourg, France, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the Siena Cathedral in Italy, just to name a few.
Painted glass is indeed a long established tradition for religious institutions. And we’re proud to be a part of its continuance. We create all types of painted glass windows for churches, temples, and cathedrals all throughout the country and also offer restoration for painted glass work. We searched near and far to find the most gifted artists who specialize in this very specific technique and we’re proud to say that the work they produce is stunning.
Our Creation & Restoration Process for Church Painted Glass Windows
We’ve spent years fine tuning and adjusting our techniques for glassmaking. Over the course of time, we’ve developed a specific process that we now use for every project. We’ve found that by employing these methods, we are able to produce higher quality windows that look better and last longer.
Our process for both original works and restorations begins with a consultation. If it’s a restoration, we inspect the window to determine the extent of damage and develop a plan for repairs. For original works, we conduct an onsite interview to gain a better understanding of our client’s preferences and vision. This can be done with either one lead member of the church or several board members. Then, we create a series of drafts for the design.
A computerized blueprint is generated of the design of the window. If the project is a restoration, the panel must be brought to our workshop, cleaned, and disassembled before any reconstruction work can be completed. Any severely broken glass is discarded and new pieces are selected in place. We then work on repainting the pieces to reproduce the original design. Sometimes, several pieces have to be painted in order to find a perfect match.
For new works, we begin painting the glass right away, applying details by hand where they are needed to add depth and texture, and layering the paint in the certain areas to control the flow of light. This makes the painting more lifelike, which is especially important for landscapes and portraits. For both restorations and new works, once the painting is completed, the glass is fired in our in house kiln.
Next, the glass is laid out appropriately using the previously generated computer pattern as a map. Lead is placed between the glass pieces, soldered at the joints, and cemented in place. Sometimes, for restorations especially, we also attach steel bars to the panel for extra reinforcement. The window is cleaned to remove any excess cement and is then allowed to dry and set.
The stained glass is carefully transported to the church for installation. The panel is inserted in the window opening and secured in place. Sometimes, we add a piece of low-e safety glass over the window to protect it from damage. In the past, many glassmakers used plexiglass instead, but we’ve found that low-e safety glass is a much better alternative.
Low-e safety glass is very strong and is also great for climate control, which is important because you do not want heat to build up in the airspace between the glass and the stained glass window. This can create many problems in the future. If we install safety glass, we also make sure to create vents which also help control heat.
Once the installation phase is finished, the project is complete. When cared for properly, painted glass windows can last for decades, and sometimes even centuries. And the best part of all is the joy and beauty it brings to those who behold it, as they gaze upon the religious symbols, scenes, or figures that remind them of their values and bring meaning to their lives.
If you are interested in obtaining a painted glass window for your church or are in need of repair or restoration services, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We will be happy to discuss your project further with you over the phone or during a consultation if you wish. We look forward to hearing from you soon in the near future.