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Creating Stained Glass

The Lead Came Method

This is the traditional way to create stained glass. In this method, pieces of glass are held together using a framework of lead came. The lead (in the form of I and C sections) is cut to size and carefully worked to form the shapes required to neatly surround each piece of cut glass.

The sections are soldered together into a strong framework before a special cement is applied to the finished work. The cement fills the small gaps between the glass and the lead came, increases the integral strength of the panel and makes it water and wind proof. The resulting panel is strong, weatherproof and capable of surviving many centuries.

Nearly all the religious or civic stained glass and leadlights we see in our cathedrals, churches and public buildings today have been created using this method.

The Copper Foil method

This method of making stained glass objects is very much newer (dating to the late 19th century). Tiffany, its inventor, developed the technique to facilitate the construction of delicate three dimensional objects such as lamp shades or bowls. In the copper foil method, each piece of glass is wrapped in copper foil then soldered together in the absence of lead came. Complex three dimensional objects or simple flat pieces (where strength or longevity is less important) employ this technique.

Why Buy a Handmade Object ?

Handmade objects possess a uniqueness and beauty that eludes the mass produced. Handmade glass panels do not have machined lines or regular edges, they will not be perfectly square or perfectly flat and the colour and thickness of their glass elements will vary in subtle ways. These material variations react in different lights to produce an astounding range of shadows, patterns and reflections which bring the piece to life and give it depth. These qualities mean that no two panels can ever be identical , a most desirable quality in a gift or decorative object.

At Radiance we use the traditional lead came construction method to produce high quality objects that will last a lifetime.