I have been looking at the rain and have been inspired by the way colour runs as you look at colour through the window. Colour seems to smudge and mix as the rain comes down between the glass and the colour. When designing glass windows, especially when using lead, the design has a strong defining line or edge. This can sometimes mean the subtle flow of colour does not happen. The use of a very thin line of lead or the shading or painting of glass can also have an effect. However some of the beauty of a glass window can be the way small pieces of glass catch the light. This image is like a watercolour with the delicate use colour and moving colour and sometimes this can be found within a sheet of coloured glass. Colour can added to flow through molten glass and this flow is then frozen in the cold glass to be used by the artist for its variation. I supposed you could think of it as pre-smudged glass.
Today I will return covered in the dust and decay of ages as I will be removing a church window. The window will be set in a stone surround and can have been in place for many, many years. Image that the window has been in place since before you were born! It is often true that church windows are not regularly cleaned so there can be dust and cobwebs inside as well as traffic dirt and other residue on the outside of the window. Removing a window is called a ‘hack out’. This suggests a violent attack on the window. It is more like the desperate attack of the stained glass artist attacking the surrounding stone working to remove the window without breaking the glass. It is a delicate job for such a term as ‘hack out’. As you get up close to the glass you can see how the window was made and it is here you make the connection with the original artist. The techniques of cutting, painting and creating the window using lead calms have changed little over the centuries. I will take the window back to the studio to clean and remake as the original artist would have done. Once repaired and restored the window will return and perhaps stay in place for another 100 or so years until the next artist returns to care for the window again.
Stained glass is glass so it can get chipped or broken and leaded glass can be pushed but it is not difficult to get these things repaired. A window can be removed, stripped down and put back together with new lead. It is at this point that you could give added security to the window by sealing it within a double glazed unit. This will preserve the glass, give the door a strengthen exterior and also cut down on drafts. This can also preserve the glass for many years into the future. Stained glass can be very beautiful and decorative lasting many years, but sometimes,like everything, it needs some tender loving care. Stained glass studio recently restored a large window at the headquarters of The Retail Trust, in Mill Hill. They had a beautiful old window but unfortunately it had begun to leak and water was causing damage to the building as well as the window. Restoration has given the window a new life and the room behind is now a busy, warm and dry. When I went to the dedication one comment I remember was from a neighbour who said she had really missed seeing the window lit up at night with all the beautiful glowing colours. What more could we ask for as a comment on the successful completion of our work.
This is part of another restoration project.