Posts Tagged 'repair'

Rip it up and start again

This poor old window landed in my workshop just after Christmas, it is over a meter long, but not that wide and is the dinning room door to a house in Chagford. I dont think the panel is as old as the Art Noveau design suggests, as the glass is quite thick modern machine rolled glass. However, it has badly buckled and as a result some of the glass has cracked and fallen out!  The damage to the window is partly because it is in a high traffic area of the house, but mostly because it has been made without internal reinforcement, this is where thin steel rods are hidden inside the lead work and help keep windows straight and strong. These are used because large windows are heavy and lead is very soft and bendy, so over time if not properly reinforced the panel will bow and sag……needless to say I will be adding them when I put the window back together!

Taking a window apart is a dangerous activity, old windows used all sorts of  nasty compounds and chemicals in the cement and lead starts degrading after 93 years, so it is important that you damp down the lead to stop dust and wear a protective mask to prevent breathing it in.

Before I dismantled the window I took a rubbing of it to use as a template and I managed to take this window apart without breaking any of the intact glass and as you can see I have numbered each piece so I know where they all go. Now I am just trying to match the blue glass in the border of the window, so I am waiting for a delivery of glass. All the old lead gets recycled, the larger pieces of broken glass get reused in my recycled suncatchers and the small bits of glass I use for mosaics and appliqué glass sculptures, nothing is wasted!

Whilst I wait for the right shade of blue I have a mermaid window to start and the drawings for a very large seascape to scale up, so I wont be bored!

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Recent Restoration

I have recently restored a panel for the front door of a beautiful farmhouse in Hemyock, near Taunton. Here are some photos of the process. I managed to find hand blown glass to match the original broken pieces and I added glass painted initials as requested by the customer. It is apparently an Art Deco door, however, it has more of an arts and crafts feel to me. The process goes as follows: I take a rubbing of the window to be restored and keep this as a guide to ensure I get the new window exactly right. Then comes the hardest part, removing all the old lead without breaking anymore glass! This is a delicate mixture of extrmeme care and brute force! Once this is complete I clean up the remaining glass and lay it on the rubbing. Next I match the lead sizes and the glass to be replaced as much to the original as possible. I then draw a new pattern, cut the glass and re-lead the window. I then cement the gaps between the lead and the glass, add a paterna acid wash to dull the solder and when cleaned up I buff with stove black. In this case I then painted on the clients initials. Job done.  Each window I complete teaches me something new and this window renewed by amazement at how precice and skilled stained glass artisans have always been. I love working using a method which has barely changed for 1,000 years and can almost feel the craftsmen who made the original looking over my shoulder hopefully happy with my repairs!!

starting


I am a stained glass artist working in Exeter and a busy mum of 2; trying to carve a path through the tide of washing and children's toys that stands between me and making beautiful things.

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