Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Special Stained Glass Panels And House Decor Pieces

By Adriana Noton

This art form was developed centuries ago to create spectacular decorative windows for churches, palaces, castles, and other important buildings of the day. Ever since then artists have worked hard to add new dimensions and ideas to the scenes they create inspired by religion, history or legendary characters to add beauty of their windows. Traditionally these stained glass panels were done in flat relief pictures but modern artists have brought in a 3D look and are also making glass sculptured art pieces. Because of the way they were lit by sunlight these windows were often referred to as illuminated wall decorations in the past.

Glass has always captured people's imagination even as far back as the ancient Romans and Egyptians. 7th Century churches and monasteries in Britain still boast fine examples of this art form in their windows.

Traditionally the master craftsman and his apprentices were the only people who practiced this art. This remained so until well into the last century when it experienced a new interest. The disastrous effects of bombings in Europe during World War Two damaged many famous historical buildings and cathedrals that required restoration. This called for a legion of artists working in this medium.

When making this material metallic salts are added to give color. Blue is produced by adding cobalt, copper makes red and copper oxide makes green shades. These colored pieces are cut in the required shapes and sizes and used to build a design or picture in an inflexible frame. Pieces are joined together using strips of lead. Panels are made in this manner and then placed in door panels or window openings.

Modern glass-artists also use copper foil instead of lead strips to join pieces. On completion of the design the copper foiling or strips of lead are smoothed with a hot soldering iron. The heat tidies edges and flattens joins and allows pieces and foiling or lead to bond.

Many contemporary exponents of this craft use innovative techniques to created pictures of paintings of famous artists. One form which is popular is known as the Gemmail method. This technique allows for adjacent pieces to overlap and not be connected with foil or lead. It creates greater diversity and allows the artist to play with shading of color.

Numerous technological advances have enabled glass-makers to create wonderful new patterns, textures and colors. This has also prompted other art forms to use this material. Their contributions are to be seen in the beautiful Tiffany styled lamp shapes and door panels for home decor available nowadays. Focal point windows in houses are often enhanced by these designs as are panels inserted into front doors.

This growing demand has created a new generation of artists working in this medium. One need only browse through the internet to see how many traditional and contemporary designs are on offer. Whether used as a window or door panel, a screen, in a light box or a piece of sculpture it will add a touch of charm and elegance to any room and value to the home.

Numerous organizations have been established to ensure that stained glass art will continue to thrive. These bodies are also tasked with looking into ways and means to keep this art modern and challenging.

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