A Different Approach To Working With Stained Glass

Studio Pass

Today I want to invite you into our studio to look at an approach we used on some windows we recently installed.

Maybe you’ll use this method exactly as you see it here today.

Or maybe you’ll make changes, giving it a life that’s all your own.

Whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll find the demonstration useful.

The Science Of Glass

27th May 2015

Here’s a great podcast for you my fellow glass painters. But art is not the subject here. Nor is it craft. No, this time it’s science.

The episode begins with a brief discussion of the history of glass e.g.

  • The Ancient Egyptians who originally made beads and jewellery
  • The Romans who introduced glass works across their Empire
  • The Venetians who discovered (amongst many other facts) that adding manganese oxide made glass clearer.

And then the main focus becomes both fascinating and more technical e.g.

  • Glass is a “disordered” substance with an often ill-defined transition from liquid to solid
  • Transparency results from disorder i.e. disorder is necessary for transparency
  • Colour results from (technical) “impurities”.
Myself, I took comfort from the observation that annealing is a strange phenomenon – even to scientists … You take this material (glass), and hold it at a certain temperature, and, just by holding it, you change some of its fundamental properties.

The discussion jumps around a lot. But stick with it and you’re bound to hear some fascinating scientific facts about this gorgeous material on which we paint.

Most writing on art is by people who are not artists: thus all the misconceptions

Eugène Delacroix, quoted in Der Blaue Reiter Almanach (Edited by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, 1911)

Do a face on white glass in strong outline only: step back, and the face goes to nothing; strengthen the outline till the forms are quite monstrous – the outline of the nose as broad as the bridge of it – still, at a given distance, it goes to nothing; the expression varies every step back you take. But now, take a matting brush, with a film so thin that it is hardly more than dirty water; put it on the back of the glass (so as not to wash up your outline); badger it flat, so as just to dim the glass less than “ground glass” is dimmed; – and you will find your outline looks almost the same at each distance. It is the pure light that plays tricks, and it will play them through a pinhole.”

Stained Glass Work by C.W. Whall - Chapter VI (London: John Hogg of Paternoster Row, 1905)