Making Stained Glass Windows
I started making stained glass windows while we were living in Woodstock, Oxfordshire where I attended the Oxford Summer School and learnt the basics of making leaded stained glass windows from Nicola Kantorowicz FMGP.
Since then I have had the luxury of my own studio, which I can retreat to when I get the occasional free moment from my busy practice as a teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Making a stained glass window is very much a step by step process. First comes the design. I don’t use a kiln which means that I cannot paint on the glass. This means that my designs need to be simple – the coloured glass is going to do all the hard work of telling the story. The design needs to take account of the fact that there are some shapes that you simply cannot cut without breaking the glass. When I am working with glass I start to see the world in terms of blocks of colours !
Next comes the cutting of the glass to fit into the jigsaw pattern of the design. The glass comes in a wonderful range of colours and patterns: full of swirls and swoops. Hold them up to the light and they come alive.
Once all the glass is cut, then they need to be fitted into a supporting framework of lead. Lead is a very soft metal which can be easily bend to follow the outline of the cut glass. The lead framework is now soldered together to make the solid finished window.
All that remains to be done now is to fill the little gaps between the glass and the lead work with a type of cement made from powdered lead. This gives the window added strength and makes it weather proof.
And now you can admire the window with sunlight streaming through the brilliant coloured glass.