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  Category: Articles » Home & Family » Home Improvement » Article

A Little Bit About Stained Glass

By Paul Glover

Ask any average person about stained glass and the reaction will most probably be something along the lines of, 'Oh sure, yeah - it's pretty. I like it.' But there's much more to stained glass than aesthetics. This ancient art form has a rich history throughout the time of mankind and by having it installed in your home, you're literally bringing that history into your daily existence.
Stained Glass Has Historical Roots
Historically, ancient Romans are credited as being among the first to make and use colored glass in architecture. However, stained glass windows really made their mark in Gothic churches - which is rather significant in itself.

This is because Pre-Gothic churches preferred and actually restricted artwork to the surfaces of walls, mosaic floors, or painting canvases. But growing to lavish decoration, the churches began to run out of 'space' and thus started to decorate their windows with stained glass.
Stained Glass Has Spiritual Roots, Too
Spiritually, the stained glass in church offered its patrons a richly colored experience to accompany its richly spiritual sermons. It isn't uncommon to experience the calming effect that sunlight has on us by simply shining through stained glass.

Heavily based on Christian themes, the most popular designs depicted scenes from the Bible and just a few centuries later, birthed from the hands of well-known artisans like Albrecht Dürer, Ghiberti, and Donatello.

Today however, stained glass themes revolve around nature as florals or just as interesting geometric patterns - and you can find stained glasswork by Henri Matisse in Vence, France and Marc Chagall in Jerusalem. And of course we're all familiar with the gorgeous work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Stained Glass Mystery Solved
One can't help but to wonder how stained glass is made - whether it's part of the windows for beautiful French doors or it's the shade for a small lamp. Stained glass is as intriguing in beauty as it is in its formation.

In the past, stained glass began as wood! A stained glass artist would draw a design on a piece of wood that was the same size of a particular window. Next, the artist would color that glass by adding mineral salts (or oxides) as it was being made. If a colored proved too dark (like red), the artist would 'flash' it - that is, fuse a very thin layer of it onto a much thicker layer of clear glass. In fact, the flashing technique was commonly employed to make double-pained Windows for even more interesting visual effects.
The artist then cut the glass according to the pattern drawn on the wood.
Placed in a temporary setting, the colored glass was lightly painted over with dark tones to not only give the design a three dimensional look, but also to tone down some brightly colored areas. To highlight a specific area, the artist might scrape off a little bit of the dark pigment. The end result is nothing short of a beautiful assortment of pleasing complimentary colors.
About the Author
Author Paul White represents A site designed to help home owners from Florida locate local home contractors with their home improvement projects.
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