Restructure or Repair
Grandchildren happen — they happen to break things we like. Ours did. It was a little window, and it really wasn’t worth the effort of taking each piece out and repairing it to make it look like nothing happened. That “repair” would have taken twice as long as making something fresh and new.
Here are photos of a project I “restructured” by rebuilding the whole window. In the process, the initial vision of the original craftsmen became augmented.
This window was crafted in the 1990s, in two parts. The upper section references a painting by Salvador Dali of the crucifixion from a unique perspective — a heavenly point of view. The lower section depicts a priest at an altar celebrating Mass. The rest of the visual space of the original window consisted of large triangles and quadrilaterals. The window was placed in a side chapel of a church in California’s Central Valley.
In 2015 some troubled soul came by, took a large boulder, and bashed the center out of the window (angry at God? or on drugs?). I was able to retrieve many of the components and I saved the pieces that depicted Christ. I rebuilt the lower section in consultation with the woman who now serves that church as its priest. I recycled the remaining pieces of glass into small crosses, as well as using them to craft the words “Faith, Hope, and Love” in the restored window. The twisted lead went to a recycling center nearby.
After cutting away the image of Christ from the rest of the damaged window, I compared what remained with a reproduction of Dali’s painting. There were more than enough pieces to restore the original intent of the first artist who “translated” the work of Dali into the “language” of stained glass.
Like an archeologist of glass, I extracted each piece from the twisted lead came and repositioned them on a separate board. The “head of Christ” had remained intact.
Each piece was then transferred from the assembly on the right to the pattern on the left. The colored glass pieces are tacked into the lead came one by one. This provides stability as the overall piece is reassembled
When all pieces had been moved and locked into place, it was soldered and then incorporated into the larger window.
I reused some of the pieces surrounding the priest at the altar. The letters “L” and “O’ on the left side are balanced by “V” and “E” on the right. These are pieces recycled from the pre-existing window, as are the “Alpha” and the “Omega” in the picture below, underneath the image of Christ on the cross.
I used beveled pieces of glass as a vertical border, and also as a way to emphasize the connection between the upper and lower sections. The bevels in the middle suggest the powerful link between the image of Christ above and the priest with upraised arms below.
The rectangles to the left and right of the central bevels spell out the words FAITH and HOPE, although the perspective in this photo makes that difficult to see. The letters of L-O-V-E surrounding the priest at the altar are easier to perceive.