Book Cover

Conservation of Stained Glass in America

by Julie L. Sloan
    "... a two hundred and twenty-five page warehouse of information on professional [stained glass] restoration and conservation."

    JOE PORCELLI, Glass Craftsman magazine

America's Heritage in Stained Glass

Is Due for Restoration

The shimmering, iridescent glow of vibrantly-colored glass is dimmed and damaged by a century's dirt and neglect. It is time for America's heritage of magnificent stained glass - installed in churches, public buildings, and countless homes - to be restored to its original beauty and strength. These glorious works of stained glass art, hailed at the time they were installed as a uniquely American expression and so widely popular that even Sears Roebuck offered them in its catalog, have recovered their popularity after long being ignored and are enjoying renewed interest as part of the general American interest in restoring and preserving the objects of the past.

Designed and installed a hundred years ago during a time of great enthusiasm for stained glass, the natural aging process has affected the structural network of the windows. They have begun to buckle and bow, as well as show other signs of distress on the incomparable luster of their surfaces. Dirt has crept between the pieces of glass, smudging faces and blurring inscriptions. The putty that held the glass in place has dried and fallen out. Often well-meant but overzealous cleaning has caused damage. Generations that took stained glass windows for granted paid little attention to the gradual accumulation of breaks and cracks that will eventually cause the windows to be lost altogether.

... the natural aging process has affected the structural network of the windows ...

But few owners of stained glass windows understand either their construction or how best to go about preserving them. They are not sure whether what seems to be dirt on the glass is actually paint that should be saved or how they can identify what exactly is causing parts of the windows to break. They hear stories about the effect air pollution might be having on their windows and are confused about the advantages of protective glazing.

And they are not sure how to go about finding someone who really knows the answers to these and many other questions, much less an artist or studio who will do their windows more good than harm.

"Conservation of Stained Glass in America" is a complete guide for both the owners of stained glass windows and for artists and studios who restore them. Its examples and illustrations are focused on American stained glass, even though many of the techniques were developed in Europe, where stained glass has a long and noble history. In the United States, however, the glass itself is different than that made in Europe. The problems and solutions are different, too.

The author, Julie L. Sloan, pioneered many of today's standards in stained glass restoration. A trained preservationist, the originator of the concept of stained glass restoration consultation and an experienced project manager, she directed the five-year project at Harvard University, where the windows of Memorial Hall, commemorating men lost in the Civil War, were restored. Other projects have included Boston's Trinity Church, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago. Sloan has taught stained glass restoration for nine years in Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, and to stained glass craftspeople around the country. Her articles have set standards for quality and procedures that today are followed by the best studios.

Conservation of Stained Glass in America
    by Julie L. Sloan - 225 pp., illustrated with bibliography and references
      ISBN 1-884966-01-2
$44.95 plus shipping and insurance

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