Pearl River Glass Studio | pearl river glass studio | Our Craft
Stained Glass and Art Architectural Glass
stained glass, fused glass art, kiln-formed glass, pearl river glass studio, andy young, midtown jackson, small business, glass, art, jackson, mississippi, water jet services, glass class, restoration, church, studio artist, traditional, prgs, glass art
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Our Craft

preservation | innovation

At PRGS, our guiding principle is the preservation of the ancient tradition of stained glass. We maintain the highest quality of craftsmanship and expertise in the various stained glass techniques.

  • The basic steps of cartooning, glass cutting, leading and cementing are the same as practiced by stained glass craftsmen 1,000 years ago. Making a stained glass window involves several distinct steps:

  • Over the past 10 years we have been developing fused glass as an addition to our palette of techniques for our artwork in stained glass.

  • We love working with our clients to understand their wants and needs as a vital part of our design process and decisions for which techniques will work best to create the glass art they are looking for.

Site Visit

The Site Visit allows the designer to see the area where the window will be installed. He makes careful measurements of the window openings and gains insight into what the client wants represented. He utilizes his experience and visual talents to begin the process of transforming ideas into artistic reality.

Design Sketch

The Design Sketch is the first realization of the window. It allows the client to see how it will appear in conceptual terms. This step permits a certain amount of agreed upon changes to be made before the renderings are undertaken.

Design Rendering

The Design Rendering is a scaled watercolor and/or computer graphics representation of the finished product. Shading, color and architectural elements from the actual site may be included to aid the client in seeing how the finished window will look. The rendering is itself a work of art and is the basis for all work that follows.

Glass Selection and Ordering

Glass Selection and Ordering begin the transition from the design rendering to the finished window. Exterior elements such as tree shading and sun position, along with interior and exterior colors, are used to aid in glass selection. This process may involve ordering special colors, densities, styles, and textures. These must be ordered in advance - sometimes having to be custom made. Every effort is made to match the glass to the artist's rendering, or in the case of restorations, the existing glass.

Cartoon

The Cartoon is a graphic representation of the full size window. Printed on heavy paper, with a wide format printer, the window is assembled on its surface. The cartoon must be exact to ensure that the window is the proper size.

Glass Cutting

Glass Cutting begins through the use of a few simple tools. A light table illuminates the area to be cut on the master cartoon and the piece of glass. After careful scoring, the heart, or lead line, is followed exactly to ensure proper fit. After cutting, the pieces are laid out on a preliminary cartoon.

Leading

After all the glass is cut, the process of Leading begins. This is when the window is put together. The cartoon is secured to a large wooden table with tape. Thin wooden strips are nailed onto two of the outside edges (forming an ``L`` shape), giving the craftsperson a frame to build against as the window is assembled. Various sizes of lead came (strips) are then cut and formed to match the shape of the drawn lead line. This ensures a tight fit, giving the finished window its proper strength.

Soldering

Following the Leading process Soldering begins. Two more wooden strips are nailed to the table, closing the ``L`` shape and securing the window while the joints are being soldered. Each joint where the leads touch is cleaned with a fine wire brush and fluxed so the solder will adhere. Proper soldering takes skill, as the tip must be hot enough to melt the solder but not the lead underneath. Both sides of the window must be done in the same fashion.

Cementing

Cementing gives the window strength and protection against the elements thus preparing it for generations of enjoyment. The cement is a special mixture with the consistency of putty. By forcing it into the void between the glass and lead, a tight seal is created.

Cleaning

Cleaning is done after excess cement is trimmed away. The entire panel is cleaned with calcium carbonate or ``whiting``. By working this powder with a stiff natural brush, the oil from the caulking is cleaned away and the glass and lead take on a semi-gloss finish. After vacuuming off the powder, a clean natural brush is used to give the glass and lead additional luster.

Reinforcement

The final construction step is adding Reinforcement bars. These steel bars are placed 12” to 18” apart throughout the entire window and are soldered into place at every joint where they cross the leads. This allows the window to support itself when installed in its opening. The window is then cleaned in natural light prior to installation.

Installation

Installation is the final process. The craftsperson must make sure that the window is properly secured and sealed so that it will be able to withstand the effects of wind, rain and sun.

PRGS: Always On the Cutting Edge

Over the past 10 years we have been developing fused glass as an addition to our palette of techniques for our artwork in stained glass. In 2010 we have taken fused glass to a new level as art incorporated into curtain wall architectural glazing systems. Following a design rendering, our artists create large sheets of fused glass.  These sheets are water jet cut to size and laminated to a sheet of clear glass. The resulting safety glass sheet is then fabricated into an insulated window 1 inch thick that fits into any architectural glazing system.  Our first demonstration of this new technology is in the 100 foot high tower of the Centennial Chapel at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.