Whilst many of my customers enjoy collecting my hand made glass sculptures, etched glass and oak lamps or adorning their houses with bespoke glass house number or name plaques, I often get enquiries for using my artisan skills in conservation and restoration of stained glass and leaded lights.
Relying mainly on word of mouth referrals from some of my many satisfied customers, based upon the quality of my hand made glass products often leads to some interesting and rewarding projects, including fixing leaded glass windows and undertaking stained glass window restoration projects for prestigious large properties to smaller one off projects within Rutland and surrounding areas. In this blog post I want to focus on a particular commission where I had to create a variety of bespoke stained glass panel feature windows.
After years of debate, a local couple had decided to build an extension onto their home and incorporate into it a number of unique stained glass decorative features. An internet search led my future clients to The Old Bakery Antiques based in Wymondham, Rutland. The Old Bakery have some nice examples of Victorian painted and stained glass windows with bird and floral designs in their showroom. It was here that the couple chose a range of salvaged architectural glass pieces that were beautiful but in poor condition. I was then recommended to them as a glass craftsman who could restore and reconfigure their salvaged stained glass into a design of two vertical and one horizontal panel to go across the top of the window and fit in with the proportions of their extension.
Following consultation with the couple to establish their exact requirements, I then set about incorporating their antique glass finds into a contemporary panel. As part of the restoration and design process I always take a detailed selection of photographs, rubbings and hand drawings of the original glass panels to act as an aide memoir and accurate record of the original artwork before any dismantling can begin. Then, using the new window panel glazing sizes, I carefully measure and transfer the relevant structural design information onto the rubbing or new drawing before the original leaded glass panels are carefully dismantled. Each original glass piece is thoroughly cleaned by hand, removing any old lead light cement before being laid out flat on boards to retain the original structure, pattern and design.
The original glass within the main central design, plus the bordering glass, is then assessed and compared against the measurements of the new panels and structure to enable me to decide where to trim the glass to ensure correct fit in new panel. This also enables me to visualise the finished design and identify any sections of missing glass or decorative items such as roundels that I will need to source for an accurate or match. Once all the glass is hand cut to size and checked against the new drawing the leading process can begin and after a real labour of love, the finished design is finally realised. I’m pleased to report that my clients’ were thrilled with the end result and commented how the three panel set I’d restored and reconfigured ‘looks stunning’ on their newly finished extension.
The couple were so pleased with the work I’d produced so far that they then approached me with another bespoke stained glass project. They were keen to replace the modern glass feature on their front door with something more in-keeping with the bird theme already running through the earlier stained glass designs I’d made for them that were now showcased in their home.
They presented me with two rectangular pieces featuring Herons that would form a key part of their design idea. They also provided a bag full of blue and yellow stained glass pieces, salvaged from another much older window, and some coloured card that picked out the red and brown of the glass in the transom that was already above the front door. The clients provided ideas of a design they had in mind using all these elements they had collected and I set to work making their vision into a reality.
In accordance with their original ideas I created a bespoke feature panel constructed using both reclaimed and new stained glass, all matched to their colour and design specifications. The clients declared the finished panel looked ‘magnificent’ and I’m pleased to report that they commended me on ‘another first class job’ and, I’m sure, plenty of admiring comments from visitors and future recommendations!
“Delighted with Tim’s service. We have used Tim on a number of occasions to restore and create new leaded window panels from old painted and stained glass. His attention to detail is superb and has integrated new glass to complete panels if required. The service is excellent and Tim takes time to discuss the projects with us and deliver a first class result. I would recommend Tim to anyone.”
It’s always heartening to receive an enquiry as the result of a personal recommendation. As always, I work closely with my clients throughout the entire process, from finalising the design incorporating any elements they provide or by sourcing them myself. Equally, I am happy to act as an overall design consultant and advise clients who like to take a more hands on approach to their creation. Please do get in touch whether you need a bespoke leaded light or stained glass project, or if you would like to have a bespoke glass plaque or house number made – you could even treat a loved one in time for Christmas!