Stained glass is among the greatest accomplishments of modern man. It casts the unparalleled beauty of natural lighting in a completely different, well, light. Having been an institution for over 5,000 years, the art of stained glass is a trade passed down through generations.
Obviously, the design must first be established and the requisite colors determined. Experts compose different color glass using different mixtures and ratios of silica, sand, soda, lime or lead oxide. The levels of metallic oxide determine the colors of the final product. Copper oxide, for example, can be added to the mixture to produce vibrant colors of ruby, blue and green, while uranium, cadmium sulfide and titanium can be added to produce warmer golden tones of yellow and vermilion.
Once the glass colors are finished, permanent placement is begun. For this, the shards are cut and put in place using lead framing, or ‘cames.’ The ‘cames’ bound together the different colors of glass to make the grand composition, be it a portrait, design or icon. Once every piece is in place, to protect the glass, the final windowpane product is glazed and leaded.
Essentially designing artwork on a backdrop of sunlight was among the greatest ideas man has ever conceived. And its craftsmanship it truly a science to behold, indubitably the reason stained glass assembly and manufacturing has survived as an art through the tests of time.