My grandfather was a stained glass artist in his retirement and I have fond memories of being with him in his studio. The medium of stained glass takes great skill, planning, and precision. I have the utmost respect for stained glass artists!
Many of you know I teach a private Christian school which I absolutely love! Not every art project we create is directly bible-based, however this project very naturally had a biblical theme because of its roots in cathedrals. So this made for perfect biblical integration into our art lesson that was at Easter time!
Of course, stained glass isn’t reserved for religious subject matter. Just as with ANY medium, any design can be created in stained glass. There have been many stained glass artists throughout art history that have captured a large variety of subject matters in glass. This project can be altered to a different subject matter.
Supplies: Plaid Gallery Glass Window Color Paint Set (2-Ounce), DecoArt DASK270 Glass Stains Sample Pack, Gallery Glass Liquid Lead 8 ounce Black, Jack Richeson Carve 3 Pack Etching Plates 9″ x 12″, Pencil, Sharpie, 9×12″ paper, (This project could work with transparency sheets, but won’t be very rigid. Another option is to by cheap frames with glass or plexiglass.)
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- Students will learn about the art medium of stained glass.
- They will learn about the history of stained glass and its significance to the church.
- Students will design and create a faux stained glass window with a biblical message.
- What is a Stained Glass Window? A stained glass window is a window made of small pieces of colored glass that tightly fit together to form a picture or design. The glass is cut and arranged, then held together by lead and supported by rigid frame. The glass can also have colors painted on it with glass stain. Often found in cathedrals, stained glass window are most often made in flat panels and tell a visual story.
- History of Stained Glass Windows
a. Clear window glass was in use from at least the 1st century AD.
b. The earliest known examples of colored window glass, dated to c. 800–820 AD, were recovered in excavations at the Abbey of San Vicenzo in Volturno, Italy.
c. The oldest surviving stained glass windows still in-tack are thought to be the Prophet Windows in Augsburg Cathedral, of c. 1065 in Germany.
- Medieval Cathedrals Stained Glass:
In medieval times, great churches called cathedrals were constructed to honor God and were filled with sculptures, paintings and stained glass windows created by artists. It was during the construction of the churches and cathedrals that a new art form developed – the stained glass window.
- What’s the Purpose of a Stained Glass Window? Most stained glass windows during medieval times were designed to show a scene from the Bible. Many people were illiterate and pictures were a visual way of communicating the gospel of Jesus and other biblical messages to those who could not read.
-These beautiful windows provided light for the interior of the church in a way that also reinforced the idea Jesus is the “light of the world”.
- How is the glass colored? Glass is colored by adding metals and metal oxides during its manufacture to change its color.
- The Art and Skill of Stained Glass:
Creating stained glass requires artistic skill to conceive a design that is workable with glass, the precision and understanding of how to cut glass into specific shapes, and the engineering skills to assemble the piece to make it wind and water resistant. Precise measurements must be taken so the window will fit snugly into the space for which it is made and the window must support its own weight-especially in the larger windows.
Activity: Faux Stained Glass Window
Project Objective: Create a faux stained glass window that communicates a biblically based message.
- Research cathedral stained glass windows. What were messages they conveyed?
- Decide on a biblical message to convey. What images come to mind? Do 2-3 thumbnail sketches to work out your design.
- Draw your design onto a 9×12″ sheet of paper. Consider adding a border.
- Fracture your design by adding lines (not smaller than 1″) and avoid circles as these are difficult to cut in real stained glass.
- Place the clear etching 9×12″ sheet on top of the drawing. If there is a protective sheet on the top, remove it.
- On the etching sheet, use a sharpie to trace your design.
- Starting at the top and opposite corner of your dominate hand, gently squeeze the black leading paint bottle to “draw” the outlines. Use the black “lead” paint to draw over the sharpie lines. Try to keep it a consistent thickness. Tap on the bottle upside down to help keep the paint at the tip. Let DRY completely (at least 24 hours).
- Use the colored “stain glass” paint or stain to color in the individual shapes. Again, start at the top and opposite corner of your dominate hand. Use a paintbrush to move the paint around between the leading. LAY TOTALLY FLAT TO DRY!! Remember to wash paint brushes out with SOAP & Water or it will ruin the brushes!
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