Creating and designing with stained glass is the most rewarding material to work with. Unlike painting on canvas or sewing some new fashions, stained glass offers some very unique opportunities.
As an art and a craft, it requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design with consideration for the breaking tolerances of glass and the engineering skills to assemble many pieces of glass into one fabulous work of art!
Working with stained glass requires training and guidance from experienced professionals. To produce a stained glass window, each individual piece of glass must be cut from a pattern (called cartoon) as close as possible to the edges. Since the glass is not going to break exactly along the edges of the pattern pieces, each one will need to be grinded down to fit the pattern precisely so that when they are assembled they will fit together perfectly without spaces in between and able to fit into the original planned framework.
And that's just a very brief explanation. The process of creating with stained glass has many steps and can be a physical journey but with training and the understanding of glass you will be most rewarded.
"Stained glass" refers to both the colored glass material and to the works of art produced from it. For most of it's thousand year history, stained glass has refferred to the windows of churches and other buildings because traditionally it has been assembled in flat panels and used as windows.
Then in the later part of the 1800's, stained glass artists began to include three-dimensional structures and sculpture. One such artist is Louis Comfort Tiffany who is famous not only for his stained glass windows but also for his fabulous lamps. In fact, his works were so unique and cherished that the term "Tiffany Style" is still used today. You'll find it is inspired by the Art Nouveau style.
Stained glass as a material is glass colored with metallic salts added during its manufacture. The colored glass is then crafted into windows by arranging small pieces of glass to form pictures and/or patterns, bound together by lead strips or soldered copper foil and supported by a rigid frame.