I have always loved stained glass, from the very first time I saw one of the majestic windows in an old church. I also love colors, which is probably why I'm so attracted to the beautiful windows. I'm in the process of creating a new book called Stained Glass Mandalas. It's a coloring book with tidbits of stained glass history and other info incorporated in it--and that's what gave me the idea for this post.
The earliest origins of stained glass is sketchy. Between 2750 and 2625 BC, Egyptians artisans made glass beads by winding a thin string of molten glass around a removable clay core. In the first century AD, the Romans use glazed glass for windows. They cast glass slabs and used blowing techniques to spin discs to make cylinder glass, although their glass was irregular and not transparent. One of the oldest known examples of multiple pieces of colored glass used in a window, shown below, was unearthed at St. Paul’s Monastery in Jarrow, England, founded in 686 AD.
The oldest complete European windows found are believed to be five relatively sophisticated figures in an Augsburg Cathedral in Germany. The five windows are no longer in their original setting and have been moved to a museum and replaced with copies. The windows are fired glass paintings, which utilize line and tonal shading, and they are made of bright, varied colors of glass.
Stained glass was used in secular buildings during the Renaissance period. Historic scenes or heraldry were placed in town halls and small panels. The colorful windows were used in early Catholic churches mainly to depict scenes from the Bible because the majority of the people then were illiterate. Stained glass had a low ebb between the late medieval age and the nineteenth century. The reasons were religious, political and aesthetic. The Church had been the principal patron of stained glass, however, the new Protestants were hostile to elaborate art and decoration in their places of worship.
|By Cliff from I now live in Arlington, VA (Outside Washington DC), USA (Mark Twain House and Museum Uploaded by AJCham) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
After a 200 year decline, glassmakers Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) & John Farge (1835-1910), revived interest in stained glass with their colorful and unique products, and it has been popular ever since.
Here's one of the facts from my Stained Glass Mandala book, which will be available on Amazon in a few weeks:
The largest handmade stained glass window is believed to be in the Roman Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky. It measures 67’ x 24’. The picture below is one from that church.
|Used with permission: By Nheyob (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
This is only a partial history of stained glass, touching on the highlights and most interesting details. I've dabbled in stained glass, but I'm a bit hesitant to show you my first project. I am proud of it, but you just can't compare it to the magnificent windows above. I thought you might like to see part of the process in making a stained glass project. The pattern of the design behind my project is called a cartoon. In the class I took, we made a duplicate copy and cut out the pieces, which became the patterns for cutting the glass. Once all the glass was cut, we begin to put the pieces together, one at a time. The lead had to be cut to fit each piece of glass as you go along. It can be tricky to get a good fit on smaller pieces and curves. The nails used to hold the glass tight are actually horseshoe nails. In the second picture, you can see that I've already soldered all of the lead and joints. On the finished project, you can see that I used a chemical that turned the solder black to give is an antique finish.
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is a best-selling author of more than 45 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Booksellers Best Fiction Novel Award. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series, placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.