Stained glass windows – how are they made?
These wonders grace churches, historical buildings, Victorian homes, cathedrals, and works of modern art all throughout the world. Creating them requires great skill, patience, and a lot of lead soldering.
The first step is to diagram the window on a small scale, in color, called a Vidimus. It must take into account the mathematical dimensions of the larger piece to be created. This requires technical expertise as the drawing is later used to make a Cartoon, or a full-sized design of the window. The cartoon is drawn on paper that is translucent. Everything is taken into account – the separate glass pieces, the window framework, and the lead soldering that holds it all together. There is always a theme or story involved in stained glass art and this is carefully considered as the Vidimus and technical Cartoons are rendered.
The artist, or master-glazier, carefully selects individual pieces of colored glass and cuts them down to the proper sizes with a tool. The technique is called grozing. Paints are applied to create special the special details required by faces, hands and hair. The paint has traditionally contained ingredients like wine, vinegar and urine! After all the pieces have been cut, they are beveled and cleaned. The colored panes are then fitted into lead H-shaped frames called cames which are welded with molten tin at the joints. These structures can be flimsy so mastic and oily cements or pastes are used to secure the glass to the cames. When they are dry, the panel of colored panes is then carefully fitted into the larger framework of the window which is often supported by iron rods. Modern art pieces use different enamels, paints, and additives to glass to produce a dizzying array of effects and lead is sometimes replaces with copper.
At Glass King, we do window glass repair and should your stained glass window break, we offer high-quality factory made designs that we can place in your window frame or door. We offer a wide selection and we have a guarantee on all of our workmanship. Call us at 480-389-5656 for an estimate today.