Francais  |  English

  home the artist quoted value thoughts press contact    

Mixed Media mixed medias accés securisé
Sacred Art
Profane Art


Art of Stained Glass: The Technique

Stained glass is a monumental art created in France between the 9
th and the 10th Centuries. Its purely artisan technique has not evolved since that time, besides the idea of replacing the red-hot iron (used until the 16th Century) with the diamond for the cutting of glass pieces and that of replacing the gas or wood kilns with the electric one.

The making of a stained glass window goes through many stages that can be subdivided as follows: taking the measurement, preparation of the sketch or design, the cartoon, the traced design, the cutline and the cast-off, the design for colors, the cutting, the aciding, painting and silver staining, firing in the kiln, assembling, leading-up and soldering, puttying and finally the installation.

All of the preceding stages are hand made. No modern technology can replace any of the mentioned stages.

Technically speaking, the definition of a stained glass window is therefore the assembling by lead of colored glass.

Artistically speaking, it is a wall of light. This light is exceptional, for what makes the specificity of this art is the unique character and wealth of its glass, known as "Antique" glass. It is classed Antique because it is made using old methods and is mouth-blown. Various procedures are used; a miscellany of chemical and physical methods is hence used to modify the material itself. It is, then, that different miniature, tiny blobs and bubbles as well as small streaks called veins come to light. The latter are endowed with the power of diffracting the sunrays. This is what makes the difference between antique glass and flat industrial glass.

In short, the amount of work put in all these procedures and qualities is at the service of Art aiming at decorating and embellishing a building. In fact, it is sufficient to place one single stained glass window to make it possible for a highly mysterious alchemy to take place, so mysterious that it completely modifies in preciousness and subtle harmony the ambiance of the environment in question.

The work of the artist, therefore, consists of taking into consideration an array of parameters which will influence its composition and colors. These parameters are the architectural style, the aim of the space to be decorated, the number of windows, their dimensions, their geographical position in comparison with the ground, their geographical disposition, the exiting decoration, and the furniture. All of this is carried out for the purpose of achieving the most perfect and natural integration.

Finally, with the sun and its most precious help, it will be within the grasp of the artist to balance the light, to bestow upon it a dominant character and to create more or less luminous zones.

To sum it up, the marriage of glass and sun will yield a sumptuous work of art, a unique one in the world. A monumental painting which is not sun beaten but crossed by the Light. Hence, the mystery is going to be achieved, a feeling of preciosity will come to life. We can no longer talk of a stained glass window for it is transformed into a jewel, a jewel for the soul, a jewel which is different each day, for each day is different.

Back to Thoughts

© Jacques Guitton - All rights reserved.