We’re thrilled that the planned restoration on key areas of our 200 year old church space is underway!
Here is a spotlight on the first bit of stained glass repair, carried out by specialist Paul Yarde, who has kindly explained his process:
“First thing with any restoration is to record with photos and a “brass rubbing” as much of the damaged leaded light as possible. Just to make sure it can be put back together correctly. For this restoration i suggested that we keep as much original glass as possible. In this case a box of broken pieces and some support metalwork.
“With the leaded light on the work bench it is flattened and straightened as best as possible. Then a full scale drawing made for cutting new glass and re-assembling. In the case of Fabricas’ windows new lead calmes were needed throughout. As each piece is removed from the damaged areas it is cleaned and put onto the design drawing. With patience all the pieces are removed and leaded into their new positions.
“Any broken pieces that can’t be repaired are replaced with newly painted and kiln fired glass. This has to match the existing glass exactly. If no bits remain then I place myself in the shoes of the original artist and create what I believe will be appropriate. Glass painting uses iron oxide pigments that are melted into the surface of the glass at around 650 centigrade. My painting has quite crude brush strokes, just as the original. I would think the window was always designed to be viewed from a distance, detail would not be needed.
“When completely assembled the lead calmes are soldered and the cement applied to waterproof and stiffen the window (cement used is actually dark grey putty).
“Finally the leaded light is put back in place with wood beading and metal support bars.”
And Paul even filled us in on why the window had broken:
“The lead calmbes and wire supports corroded over the last 100 years and left the heavy slab glass unsupported. So it sagged until it broke. The restored leaded light has all new lead and new copper wire ties and fully attached to the supporting steel structures.”
We absolutely love the final product, such a revelation of colour and light after being broken and misshapen (and dusty!!) for so long.