MAKING STAINED GLASS
Decorative windows for dwellings and churches are traditionally made by cutting glass into shapes and assembling them into a single panel using lead channel (“came”). The panel is then made rigid and waterproof by soldering the joints and forcing leaded light cement (a form of puttying) between the lead and the glass. A wide range of styles can be produced, from Victorian geometric windows with textured glass in muted colours to contemporary curvilinear designs using mouth-blown streaky glass.
Stained Glass can also be assembled using the copper-foil technique, first seen in the 19th century and now mainly used in “Tiffany” lampshades. For a window panel, instead of slotting the glass into channelled lead, each piece is wrapped in copper foil, laid out directly next to its neighbouring piece and solder applied in a continuous bead over the foil to give a rigid framework. Copper-foil work allows us to produce more intricate and organic designs, but by its nature is more time-consuming and therefore more expensive.
Laminating and bonding
Constructing panels using these methods allows monolithic window panels to be made, without using lead or solder to join the components. Glass is sandwiched together, using resin, silicone or UV-adhesives to give a very strong and maintenance-free panels. Work can also be encapsulated in a double glazed unit, sometimes we layer decorated panes in this way to produce more complex designs. Toughened safety glass and/or laminate is used to meet building regulations in critical locations and to protect the artwork.