A History of Medieval Stained Glass

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Medieval painted glass is the painted and colored glass of medieval Europe from the 10- 16th centuries. It is very gorgeous, and is fun to learn about. It is an amazing piece of medieval history we still have an opportunity to see. I will share three very distinct pieces of this glass with you today. They displayed biblical history and were displayed in churches, and cathedrals. Many of these pieces are still in use today.

Production Methods

The stained glass was made by mixing and heating potash (wood ash) and sand. It was heated to 3000 degrees. Fahrenheit and added various metallic oxide powders to produce different colors. They were flattened while they were still pliable. The crafters had a blueprint and the sheets of glass were cut and arranged on it.

Wall of Stained Glass

The stained glass in the Sainte Chapelle (the only remaining Capetian royal palace) in Paris, France has amazing stained glass windows. These windows give the illusion of walls made entirely of stained glass. Only two thirds of the glass is still original. The rest of it has been restored or replicated.

Reynard the Fox

This is a fox that was preaching to chickens with the plan to trick and eat at least one of them. He dragged and ate the chicken. Then he ended up dying for his bad deed. This teaches against the dangers of false profits. This type of art was originally in church windows all over Europe in different versions, now there are only a few pieces remaining.

Family Shields of Honor

Shields of honor were popular in the 13th century. They started as symbols shown only in the corners, then as shield of arms covering the whole section of the window. In the last stage it featured a crest, mantling, and supporters were added. The earliest example of heraldic glass is located in the west window of Salisbury Cathedral. There are three shields of this kind in Westminster abbey.

Conclusion

Medieval stained glass is still widespread in church windows across Europe. It survived the tests of time only requiring light amounts of restoration or recreation. This is simply amazing and really shows the amount of time and hard work that had gone into the projects. These projects took many years for their crafters to create. Next time you see stained glass you should look at it more closely and truly appreciate it.

 

Stained Glass Tools And Equipment

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Below are some essential stained glass tool and equipment;

1. Glass Cutter

Cutting glass is not difficult, but you do need a good glass cutter. There are various glass cutters to choose from. My personal favorite glass cutter is the pistol cutter. It is important to choose a cutter that works well for you, as this is a stained glass tool you will use constantly.<br><br>There are basically two types of cutters, one with steel wheels and those with tungsten carbide wheels. Cutters with steel wheels tend to be less expensive but, usually don’t last very long. The steel wheel becomes dull after repetitive use and must be replaced. Steel wheels are good for general purpose or softer glass. The size of the wheel and angle of the bevel on the wheel will determine how hard of a glass it can score.

Tungsten carbide wheels are more expensive than steel wheels. There durability tends to out weigh the cost difference. Many are self-lubricating which can save time.

2. Glass Grinders

Grinders are used to smooth out cuts and insure exact fitting, as well as to lessen the chance of cutting yourself. The alternative to a grinder is a diamond file.

3. Soldering Iron

There are a wide variety of different manufactures, types and sizes of soldering irons. Most soldering irons range from 60 to 150 watts with tip sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch. When choosing your iron check out how long it takes to heat up, how long it holds the correct temperature, does it have a temperature controller and are the tips removable. Probably, the most important thing to consider when doing stained glass soldering, is to choose an iron that feels comfortable in your hand. If the iron is not comfortable, then this will more than likely show up in your solder lines.

4. Soldering Iron Stand

After choosing your soldering iron, you will need to purchase a soldering stand. The stand can be simple or elaborate. When choosing a grinder consider the size of the work surface, the power of the grinder and the accessories included such as bits, face shield and foot switch.

5. Temperature Controller

If your iron does not include a built-in temperature controller, then you will definitely need a separate controller. Using a temperature controller will maintain a constant temperature for your soldering iron.

6. Breaking Pliers and Grozer Pliers

These two hand tools are used for breaking glass. Breaking pliers are used after you score a line and want to break the glass. Grozer pliers are used for breaking away small areas of glass.be simple or elaborate. The simple ones hold your iron and sponge, whereas, the more expensive ones will have a built-in temperature controller, iron stand, sponge, power cord, a solder roll holder, flux bottle well, brush and a catch-all tray. Needless to say, the more elaborate ones will cost more.

Once you ahve all the tools, head on over and start to learn how to make stained glass.

The History Of Stained Glass

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Worldwide the stained glass history rose with its early beginnings in one country at a time. The development of stained glass has been a struggling endeavor to evolve into what it is today. It has been a constant learning process for each and every country and each individual artist. Much like the ever changing stained glass itself, the process, the skills and the beauty of the finished pieces change as our appreciation continues to grow.

The creation of stained glass was not even a concept in its early beginnings, but developed slowly over time until it finally became perfected as a work of art. The history begun to unfold as glass became invented and it went through a series of discoveries before it became an every day reality such as glass window panes or bottles. Once the ability to make glass was overcome the next natural step was to intensify the beauty of glass with what we term as “stain glass”. The evolution of using minerals (metallic oxides and salts) to stain the glass created a new vivid world of color, images and designs forming a new vision of artwork and highly decorative windows. The early history began as building blocks taking us to the creative art forms you see today.

The first obvious appearance showed up in churches in the 10th century, with biblical scenes in German and French churches. Many people were uneducated and these scenes were often used as a teaching method. Much of today’s beautiful stained glass windows can be attributed to the transformation of churches into cathedrals during the Gothic age in Europe. Buildings were becoming taller with larger openings in thinner walls. Rather than using clear glass, artists began incorporating stained windows into the buildings design.

By the 18th century scientists, historians and amateur artists rediscovered the beauty of pieces and the stained glass history was back on track! English immigrants by the name of the Bolton Brothers were one of the first artists to establish stained glass studios in America. It wasn’t long there after, that two famous American painters would begin to change the history once again.

It was in the eighteenth century when Lafarge and atiffany started the glass experiments with hope to achieve some great visual effects, without painting glass as their predecessors had done. Today you know them from history as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge. What had been a struggling time for the evolution of stained glass for centuries would now become the reality of stained glass today! These two gentlemen were competing rivals, creating and reproducing ornate stained windows used in both churches and private residences. By 1879 LaFarge had designed, developed and copyrighted opalescent glass. Both Tiffany and LaFarge were experimenting with highly colored glass, elaborate cuts, glass layering and plating techniques. They both succeeded in creating stained pieces rich in texture, depth and color. John LaFarge continued to develop his work for churches and private homes and he remains a very important part of the history that we know today.