Church Window Restoration
We literally have thousands, close to 4,000 different colors, textures and densities of glass readily available today.

Glass Selection

Sándor Fehér

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Types of stained glass range from translucent colors, called "cathedral glass" to semitranslucent "wispy" or "streaky" colored glass to an "opalescent" that has an opaque white base added to the color.

One of the most significant stages in the creation of a stained glass window is glass selection. We literally have thousands, close to 4,000 different colors, textures and densities of glass readily available today. The various types of stained glass range from translucent colors, called "cathedral glass" to semi-translucent "wispy" or "streaky" colored glass to an "opalescent" that has an opaque white base added to the color. It may be manufactured or "rolled" by machine or it may be hand-mixed and rolled by a small crew of glassmakers. Alternatively, it may be made mouth-blown by skilled artisans in the "antique" tradition. The varieties of glass you may encounter within these manufactured types are seedy (bubbles), crackle, flashed, reamy, and streaky glass. You will also find a variety of textures available such as ripple, baroque, granite, water, fibrillated, chipped, and many others.

To expand the available range of color, texture and density even further, American artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge devised a process called "plating" which they used extensively in their stained glass windows. A "plate" is a second layer of glass, added to a selected area within the window to create a new color or to increase the perception of depth. Some art glass windows fabricated by the L.C. Tiffany & Co. in the late 1800's & early 1900's have areas with up to seven plates on top of one another to achieve the artists' desired effect.

Just imagine, we have an assortment of more than 4,000 glass varieties available to us and placing two layers togethe r theoretically e xpands the glass selection possibilities to a mind numbing 16,000,000. Those possibilities expand exponentially as more plate-layers are added. Of course, with each subsequent layer of plating, the glass density increases thereby lowering the transmitted light, so limitations do exist.