In creating stained glass windows, little has changed in the last few hundred years. Leaded windows are produced in much the same way, but in the late 19th century, Louise Comfort Tiffany originated the copperfoil method used today in lamps as well as windows. At Tòrr Lìth Stained Glass we employ both methods.
When a design has been discussed and the client approves the full size drawing and accompanying watercolour sketch, the fabrication process begins. For both leaded and copperfoiled windows this begins with glass selection. Mouth blown "antique" glass is used as well as "hand rolled" glass both for the extensive palette of colours and textures available but as well for the beauty and depth of colour offered. Our artist in residence is able to give a "painterly" quality to the work because of her many years of experience in watercolour and oil media. After the glass has been chosen it now must be cut. This is a very time consuming process and requires great attention to detail.
Next comes the leading or glazing. This involves wrapping lead came (strips of lead) around each piece of glass and then beginning at one end of the window and working toward the other side, assembling these pieces on top of the drawing. If the window is being copperfoiled, each piece of glass is wrapped in a thin adhesive-backed piece of copper tape and placed on the drawing.
Next comes the soldering: either at the individual joints when leaded or along all the exposed copperfoil resulting in a very strong solder armature.
For a leaded window, next comes the cementing which involves scrubbing putty under the lead on both sides of the window. For a copperfoiled window the solder seams are cleaned and a patina is applied to darken the solder.