Stained Glass Fixtures: Learn More!
by: David Miller
What exactly is stained glass? Stained glass is colored glass. The term can refer to either the colored glass as a material or to the actual items which are created from it. Stained glass is often utilized in windows. Throughout its long history the term has referred almost solely to church windows and other windows of important buildings. It is believed that wealthy Romans first used stained glass in their palaces and villas during the first century AD. This was discovered through the remains from both Herculaneum and Pompeii. During this time period stained glass was a domestic luxury. It became more of an art form in 313 AD when Constantine began to allow Christians to openly worship. They started to build churches which they based on Byzantine models. The “Head of Christ” is the earliest example of pictorial stained glass that has survived. It is from the tenth century and was discovered at the Borsch Abbey located in Germany.
By the ninth and tenth centuries there was an increased demand for churches. This led to a greater production of decorative stained glass windows. During the Gothic period of the 13th and 14th centuries stained glass flourished because of Gothic cathedrals featuring huge windows. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a decline in colored glass and it wasn't until the 19th century that medieval glazier techniques were rediscovered. Stained glass often depicts scenes and people which tell a story. In medieval times stained glass windows in churches typically told stories of Jesus and the saints. Today stained glass does not need to tell a story. It can be merely beautiful flowers or birds and butterflies. Many objects can be created with stained glass such as lamps, jewelry, panels and boxes.
The traditional method of creating stained glass utilized lead came. This is the method which was used for many cathedrals, monasteries and churches and aristocratic homes during medieval times. The copper foil method was invented in the 19th century and allows for three dimensional work as well as two dimensional (which the lead came is limited to). Copper foil stained glass is also referred to as Tiffany stained glass. Both the lead came and copper foil methods use a soldered metal framework in which stained glass pieces that have been cut are joined together. For the lead came method you embed pieces of glass into the came channels. You then solder the joints together which are between the came strips. When using the copper foil method you wrap the edges of the glass pieces with adhesive copper tape and solder them together along the adjacent copper strips. Many people who create stained glass today believe the copper foil method is easier to learn. Stained glass can also be used as a glass mosaic. You can apply the stained glass to a vase or square jar which is clear. It gives a translucent look to the object. This use of stained glass resembles the making of mosaic tiles. Creating stained glass can be a very fun and rewarding hobby. It can also be expensive with some safety concerns to consider but once you learn how to do it you can create wondrous works of art.
The following links all provide information that has to do with stained glass.