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Commissioning Stained Glass

The Design

The Glass

Construction Methods

Leaded Lights

Copper-foiling

Laminating and Bonding

Decorative Techniques

Painting and Printing

Sandblasting and Etching

Fusing, Slumping and Casting

Restoration and Repairs

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The Studio

Kiln-fired Glass Painting


Application of specialist glass paints, stains, lustres and vitreous enamels then firing in a kiln opens up a whole new aesthetic dimension as it allows us to finely control and filter the light passing through the glass.  The glass is obscured with lines and washes of dark paints to create detail, texture, depth and shading, then enamels and stain can be used to add colour.   The methods used have remained largely unchanged since the ecclesiastical stained glass of the middle ages.  After each application of paint the piece is fired in the kiln; sometimes a piece may be fired several times. Images of great richness and beauty can be built up in this way.  When the glass is fired correctly, painted and stained glass can last for hundreds of years.

 


Printing


For large areas of repetitive design or incorporation of photographic imagery into architectural glass, we can use various image-transfer techniques.  Vitreous enamels can be screen-printed on to glass then kiln-fired, or digital imagery can be heat-bonded between glass using uv-resistant dyes.      

Decorative Techniques

Slumping, fusing and casting


Window panels can also be made using glass that had been melted to a higher temperature in the kiln to fuse glasses of different colours, to entrap design elements such as metals or to form sculptural forms by slumping over, or casting into, a pre-formed mould.  Many natural or man-made objects can be used to make moulds for slumped and cast pieces, such as shells, sculpted clay or human features such as hands.  Shallow forms can be made into leaded or copper-foiled panels, or made into window panels by laminating, bonding or encapsulation.  Incorporating these forms into a window can allow us to appreciate the true physical beauty of glass as it refracts light.

Sandblasting and  Etching


Sandblasting is used to create texture on the surface of the glass using stencils or other masking methods.  It tends to be used for more formal designs or lettering and can also be used to create contrasting areas of colour when flashed glass is used.


Acid etching can be used instead of sandblasting to remove layers of coloured glass to give images of more depth and variety, without affecting the clarity of the glass.  Typically used to create heraldic imagery on a single piece of glass, often with silver-stain to give adjacent areas of reds, blues, greens and yellows.