good stained glass,bad stained glass

Exceptional Stained Glass
& Beveled Glass

Incorporating Innovative Design & Precision Craftsmanship


good stained glass,bad stained glass


good stained glass,bad stained glass


good stained glass,bad stained glass






good stained glass,bad stained glass


good stained glass,bad stained glass


Stained Glass Craftsmanship
How to tell the Good from the Bad

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The ultimate goal of the fine craftsperson, like the fine artist, is to create something that will captivate, evoke, enthrall, or in some other way stimulate the viewer. This is accomplished by coming up with fresh ideas or designs, and then executing them with a precise control over the medium (even though the outcome may look quite random and/or imprecise). In any artistic medium there is an art to designing projects, and a craft to bringing off that aim at the highest level. There is an art to designing a stained glass window, just as there is a craft to laying down paint on a canvas. Stained glass, throughout its history, has been elevated to the realm of fine art and plunged into the obscurity of everyday architectural decoration. Currently, its reputation resides somewhere between these two extremes, having almost limitless potential to compete with other forms of fine art and fine craft, yet being kept from doing so in large part because of many non-professionals (hobbyists) seeking a vocation in either making or teaching stained glass, and thus diluting the medium with shoddy craftsmanship and non-original design.

Fine craft refers to the best that can be achieved within any craft medium, and is invariably a balance between artistic expression and superlative technique. I have, for a long time, been sad and disappointed that so much of the stained glass I see is poorly designed or poorly crafted. I do not mean to imply that there is no good stained glass about, only that it seems to be a pyramid with some at the top both well designed and well crafted, and a lot more below missing one or both of those qualities. And while every medium has its place for fledgling artisans who are still struggling with becoming good at either the design process or the craft itself, not every medium has been swamped with so many "professionals" who are in business long before they have mastered the craft. It is my hope to be of help to both consumers and stained glass artists when I speak out about the need for a higher standard of design and craftsmanship in this medium as a whole. I hope that stained glass will once again be revered for its true artistic potential, that its reputation will be raised to the level of other forms of glass art, and that it will be shown as glass art in appropriate art galleries along with other forms of glass, rather than relegated to the gift shop.

If you're thinking of having a stained glass or beveled glass artwork made, you may be seeking out glass artists on the Internet or getting quotes from artists or studios that are in your locality. Whatever you do, proceed carefully! The two major pitfalls you'll want to be on the lookout for are poor craftsmanship and poor design! There are a lot of stained glass studios and individual stained glass artists whose craftsmanship ranges between just fair and poor, and too many who do not even try to come up with original designs. Remember that the best quality work is [1] innovative and original in design, and [2] crafted cleanly and precisely. I won't speak further about original design here because good design is purely subjective and each of us knows what she or he likes. Craftsmanship, however, can be assessed and rated using objective criteria, thus allowing the consumer to learn what to look for. This page is designed to alert you to some of the pitfalls of poor craftsmanship and to educate you concerning what good craftsmanship looks like.

This page is also a good source of information for people wanting to select a good teacher of stained glass. Use these same standards when interviewing someone you may be considering paying to learn from. Try to find a teacher who will inspire you to create original design as well as teach you how to create impressive artworks. If you can't find a good teacher in your area, you may want to read about the stained glass class I offer on DVD.

Here we go...

Precision craftsmanship in stained glass is a necessary part of of this medium. Poorly crafted stained glass may start to show structural problems in as little as a few years. Well-crafted work should last many decades with no structural problems. If you've ever seen windows in churches or restaurants that have begun to "sag" (bow out of shape) or separate (light coming through where it should not), you've seen the results of time and gravity working on poor craftsmanship. Poor craftsmanship also looks imprecise, sloppy, and disjointed up close. Well crafted stained or beveled glass looks clean and precise.

Good craftsmanship is a product of two things, attitude and practice. The fine craftsperson has an attitude that settles for nothing less than perfection, and is willing to develop and/or continually refine his or her techniques toward that end. With this attitude firmly in place, it's just a matter of endless practice. The consumer should be wary of hobbyists who set themselves up as "professionals" after only a few months or years of working in the medium. Everyone has the right to go into the business of craft, but the savvy consumer will soon realize that they are free to interview and choose who will craft the artworks that they will pay good money for and be stuck with for a long time.

P.S. The best craftspeople usually charge about the same as everyone else, or in any case very little more. Also, they will rarely take on a challenge that is clearly beyond their abilities as I have witnessed some poor craftspeople do.

The following are descriptions of what to look for...

In Copper Foiled Windows, Lamps, and Artworks:

Copper foil is one method for holding the glass securely in place. It entails surrounding each piece of glass separately with copper foil - a pure copper tape that's sticky on one side - then soldering over all of the copper foil to "weld" together the structure that securely holds the pieces of glass. The sticky side of the copper foil tape is pressed to the glass, and the excess tape that sticks out above and below the upper and lower surfaces of the glass is bent down onto those surfaces, forming the "channel" that holds the glass.

Copper foil tape comes in a variety of widths, allowing for more or less "overhang," which translates into a deeper or shallower channel and appears in the final artwork as a thicker or thinner leadline (Note: the lines between adjacent pieces of glass are referred to as leadlines regardless of whether we're talking about the lead or the copper foil method of holding the glass pieces together.) Because each piece of glass is surrounded with copper foil separately, all of the copper must be covered with a "bead" of solder, i.e., the entire leadline is covered, front and back, with solder (no copper shows). If there are gaps between one piece of glass and the next (due to imprecise cutting of the glass), these gaps become filled with solder, too, resulting in leadlines that are thicker than where the glass pieces fit precisely next to one another. Although some amount of variation in the width of the leadlines can add a positive artistic effect (such as with flowers, birds and such), too much variation is a sign of poor cutting of the glass and is especially detracting with geometric shapes, straight lines, etc.

Having mastered both construction methods, lead and copper foil, I choose which to use based on the size of the project, the design, and which method will look the best artistically. As such, I choose lead far more often that copper foil. Still, there are times when foil is the best choice, such as [1] when very thin leadlines are required or [2] when the shapes of the pieces of glass would make using lead came impossible.

Here is a list of what to look for in a well crafted piece of copper foiled stained glass.

1) The copper foil "leadlines" display a uniformity of width. As per the discussion of the copper foil method above, precision cutting of the glass and precision laying down of the foil onto the glass has resulted in leadlines that [1] vary only slightly in width throughout the artwork as a whole, and [2] show almost no variance in width from one end to the other of any single leadline. When assessing the level of craftsmanship of a stained or beveled glass artwork that has been copper foiled, look closely at straight lines and simple geometric shapes such as circles, rectangles, ovals, paisleys, etc. Straight lines should be perfectly straight and show almost no variance in leadline width... curves should be smoothly curved... circles should be perfectly circular, and the variance between the thinnest and the thickest leadlines should be minimal unless the artist has obviously chosen to create different widths for artistic effect (if you have any doubt about whether it was the artist's intention to utilize different leadline widths or simply a lack of skill on his or her part, ask to see other artworks).

2) The presence of very thin leadlines (as well as thick ones). One of the biggest advantages of using copper foil over lead as a method of holding the glass is that with copper foil the artisan can create very thin leadlines (Lead has its advantages, too, which will be explained farther down on this page). The smallest lead commercially available gives a leadline that is uniformly 1/8th of an inch wide. Copper foil can give leadlines that are much thinner than 1/8th inch. Achieving very thin copper foiled leadlines requires both precision cutting of the glass and precision laying down of the copper foil onto the glass using a copper tape that is only slightly wider than the thickness of the glass. If an artist shows you a piece that has only relatively thick leadlines (which is only necessary in artworks that are very large in size and very simple in design), ask to see other works with thinner copper foiled leadlines.

3) A solder bead that is smooth, especially [a] on long uninterrupted copper foiled leadlines and [b] where two or more leadlines meet. This may not apply where the artist has meant to add some decorative soldering. However, beware of artisans claiming that poor soldering is "meant to be decorative"... once you've seen a good example of smooth soldering, you'll soon learn to tell the difference. When in doubt, ask to see other artworks.

4) A uniform appearance of the patina (if one is applied). This is a chemical solution that turns the dull-silver colored solder to a copper, brass, green, or charcoal gray color (the last is my favorite, artistically). Poor craftsmanship here appears as a blotchy or uneven look in the coloration of the leadlines, and probably results from insufficient cleaning of the artwork prior to the application of the patina or a poor method of applying the patina itself.

5) There are no copper foil "ends" showing. Since the copper foil tape is applied to the entire edge of each piece of glass, it must slightly overlap itself where it begins and ends its circumnavigation of each piece of glass. The absence of visible ends means that the copper foil is exactly lined up where this overlap occurs. The presence of visible ends is a sure sign of hurried craftsmanship. These can occur anywhere along the leadlines, as well as at the corners of a piece of glass.

6) There is no "backside" showing. If the foil is applied to the glass imprecisely, there will be places where more foil was flattened onto the underside of the glass (which becomes the back side of the artwork) than onto the topside of the glass (which becomes the front of the artwork). This allows the "backside" of the foil to show through on the front of the artwork, especially where clear or light colored glasses are used. This is readily noticeable because the "backside" is a bright copper color and shows up readily against the front of the leadlines, which have been covered with solder and maybe patina-ed, and therefore are no longer copper colored. Some artisans trim away this overhanging copper foil with a razor knife, which is okay, but time-consuming. I have developed my own technique whereby I foil every piece slightly more onto the topside than the underside of the glass, preventing the need for trimming and ensuring no "backside" showing through. (Will any artisan about to adopt this technique please send me $5 for all the time and effort I've just saved you... wink, wink.)

The following are descriptions of what to look for...

In Leaded Glass Windows, Lamps, and Artworks:

Lead is the other method of holding the glass securely in place. Leading requires more skill than copper foil since the pieces of glass and lead are fitted tightly together before beginning the soldering phase (as opposed to copper foiled pieces of glass, which are loose until the soldering phase is begun). Lead came is a pre-formed miniature I-beam of pure lead, a very soft metal that can be bent to follow the contours of the glass. The lead I-beam has two channels (channel one=>I<=channel two) in which the adjacent glass pieces are fitted. Lead requires soldering where one piece of lead touches another piece of lead, unlike copper foil, which must be soldered along the whole leadline. Lead, like copper foil, comes in different sizes. However, since the smallest commercially available lead is 1/8th of an inch wide, one can achieve thinner leadlines with copper foil than with lead. The major advantages of using lead over copper foil are [1] that leaded leadlines are perfectlyuniform in width, which looks especially good with straight lines, geometric shapes, and symmetrical designs, [2] that leading, once mastered, is much quicker than copper foiling, and can therefore significantly reduce the cost of a stained glass artwork, and [3] that lead can achieve some artistic additions that copper foil cannot (the primary one being the use of different sizes of lead, which adds greatly to many stained glass designs). Leading requires greater glass-cutting skill because gaps between one piece of glass and another are not filled with solder as they are in the copper foil method (this is why almost all stained glass classes teach copper foiling before they teach leading, and many do not teach the use of lead came at all). When the gap between two adjacent pieces of glass becomes large enough, it will not be hidden by the channel of the lead came, and the raw edge of the glass will be visible to the viewer. Most of the time these flaws are not large enough to be visible, that is, the gap between the glass and the lead is still hidden by the lead channel. Additionally, these gaps are almost always hidden by the final stage of leading, applying the putty (puttying is not necessary with copper foil).

Leaded artworks generally have a special putty forced into the channels of the lead came. This was more necessary when stained glass was the only glass between inside and outside, which is rare anymore.  Although putty is necessary to create an airtight, weatherproof artwork, not all stained glass done in lead needs to be puttied. Putty is not required in a well-crafted artwork that is mounted in an interior setting, and so does not need to be airtight or waterproof. The goal is to be visually tight rather than airtight.

Puttying a stained or beveled glass artwork can be a way of hiding imprecise glass cutting or poor leading technique. Hidden, putty-filled gaps are the primary source of structural problems that occur after a few years. Gravity and changes in atmospheric conditions work relentlessly on the artwork, causing the putty to shift, crack, and crumble on a microscopic level, leading to visible bowing, sagging, and/or separating in the artwork. This is why precise technique throughout the leading process, resulting in glass butted up firmly and precisely to lead butted up firmly and precisely to the next piece of glass, is so crucial to the lifespan of the artwork.

Another obstacle in mastering the method of leading is learning to cut the lead accurately. Fortunately, imprecise cutting of the lead came is more noticeable than the putty-hidden gaps resulting from imprecise cutting of the glass. For that reason, we will focus more on imprecise leading than on imprecise glass cutting in discussing what to look for in a well crafted leaded artwork, since the average consumer never sees the project until after the puttying process has hidden flaws of that sort, if any exist. However, it is generally safe to assume that imprecise cutting of the lead may be indicative of bad craftsmanship in general, and that it may suggest the presence of imprecise cutting of the glass as well.

Here is what to look for in a well crafted piece of leaded stained glass or beveled glass.

1) Straight leadlines are perfectly straight and curved leadlines are smooth and precise. Since the lead came is bent to follow the edge of the glass, it can't be any more precise than the edge of the glass that it is shaped to. Straight lines or curved lines that "wobble" may indicate poor drafting abilities (i.e., poor mechanical drawing skills), poor glass cutting ability, and/or poor leading technique. Look closely at straight leadlines. Are they perfectly straight? Look closely at curved leadlines, especially a circle if one is present. Are the curved lines smoothly curved? Are the circles really true circles? In a well crafted stained or beveled glass artwork, they will look precise. Where they are not precise, hurried or lazy attitudes flourish.

2) Solder joints are smooth and relatively small. In other words, there are no long "arms" of solder trailing down one or more of the leadlines adjacent to a solder joint, and the joints are smooth in appearance. Don't let someone tell you long trailing arems of solder are done on purpose to add strength to the piece. While it may be done on purpose, it adds almost nothing to the strength of the artwork, and is often the sign of a craftsperson who [a] has yet to perfect her or his soldering technique, or [b] has a lazy or hurried attitude. This is not to be confused with an artisan who chooses to cover all of the leadlines with solder. Some think this gives a more uniform look (whether patina is applied or not). I think good soldering and good patina techniques make this unnecessary, but it is not necessarily a sign of poor craftsmanship. When in doubt, ask to see other artworks.

3) Where two leadlines cross each other, they match up both ways. Where there is imprecise cutting of the glass or lack of skill in constructing the leaded artwork (i.e., fitting the pieces of lead and glass together prior to soldering), there is often the case where one leadline "matches" (the one that is actually a single, or uncut, piece of lead) and the other doesn't "match" (the one that is actually two pieces of lead meeting at the single [uncut] piece of lead). Look for this as a sign of poor craftsmanship in all leaded pieces, but especially in pieces with lots of adjacent rectangles (such as in the border designs of many leaded glass artworks) or in artworks with lots of straight lines. Precise matching is even more difficult where the leadlines cross at angles other than 90 degrees, such as in a tight-fitting pattern of diamonds. See the figure below for the simplest of cases, where lines are meant to cross at 90 degrees.

Stained Glass Craftsmanship - Lead

4) Where two leadlines are meant to merge into one line, the juncture is visually smooth. Inability to cut a fine point on the lead came will result in a juncture that seems to have a "jag" in it, somewhat similar to what is seen with improperly aligned "ends" in the copper foil method. Some artisans try to cover this type of gap with solder, which is fine if they are skilled with a soldering iron. Unfortunately, the inability to cut a fine point on the lead is often coupled with a lack of soldering expertise, resulting in a choppy or jagged look upon close inspection (see the figure immediately below). Skilled craftspeople spend no more time (in fact, probably less) creating an artwork free of jags and gaps. That's why they can charge the same price for a well crafted artwork as poor craftspeople charge for a poorly crafted artwork.

Stained Glass Craftsmanship - Lead

5) Where the design includes finely pointed pieces of glass (possibly a mark of good design and craftsmanship in itself), there are no "jags" in the leading. This is similar to number 4, above, but I just wanted you to be aware of looking for it where one leadline meets another at a sharp point, regardless of whether the two leadlines were meant to merge into one or not. Some unskilled craftspeople try to avoid designs altogether that have sharply pointed pieces of glass in them.

6) Where putty has been applied, excess putty has been removed as much as possible. When an artwork is puttied, both surfaces (front and back) are completely covered with the soft putty. Then, the putty is forced into the channels of the lead came, usually with a stiff brush. Finally, after the proper amount of drying time, the excess putty is removed by a number of methods. Not removing enough putty causes the leadlines to look wider than is necessary and to vary in width, defeating the elegance of the precise uniformity of line width that is the hallmark of leaded artworks. It also makes corners look less sharp and pointed pieces look less pointed. Finally, not removing enough putty makes the artwork look less clean, overall. Too much putty on an artwork is a sign of bad attitude (laziness) and/or gaps from imprecise glass cutting that may have needed to be hidden from view.

Note: I started #6 by writing, "Where putty has been applied..." because no putty is required where the leaded artwork doesn't need to be airtight or weatherproof (such as an artwork that is meant to hang or be mounted in an existing window), and where no gaps need to be hidden. This is the case in many of the artworks that I create.

7) Where patina is applied, it looks uniform. See the item about patina in the copper foil section above for an explanation of this.

Note: Since applying patina to an artwork requires dousing the artwork with the liquid patina, this is usually done to artworks that have not been puttied.

A few additional things to look for and ask about:

1) Studios or individual stained glass artists who never use lead (they only use copper foil). Some studios or individuals use copper foil on all projects. This is a red flag, in my opinion (not proof of poor craftsmanship, but worthy of further inquiry). This is often because almost all classes in stained glass teach copper foil first... it's easier for the student to do her or his first projects in copper foil, which is more "forgiving" concerning the imprecision of the novice craftsperson (filling the gaps with solder, etc.). Unfortunately, many craftspeople try leading and give up on it because of the added difficulty inherent in the construction or fitting process and the greater glass-cutting precision required to make an artwork that will look good. While it does take more time, patience, attitude, and practice to learn the skill of leading, I think that it is a necessary part of becoming a professional in this medium. This is because all large residential, commercial, and liturgical stained or beveled glass panels should (in my opinion) be leaded. Copper foil should be used for large panels (about 4 square feet or greater) only where the design is very intricate (sometimes) or where the design contains spaces that are supposed to be filled with solder (an example is where small circles or glass nodules are bordered by straight lines).

When interviewing a studio or individual stained glass artist, always ask to see examples of both leaded and copper foiled artworks. If no leaded artworks are available, ask why. If the answer is that they don't do leading, ask why not. Combine that with the information presented here and you will know whether this is the artist or studio you want to pay to design and fabricate the artworks that will become a part of your home, office, or religious environment for a very long time.

The one thing I detest most in stained glass is when I see copper foiled artworks that contain beveled glass. Bevels, being 99.9% symmetrical in design, should NEVER be copper foiled. NEVER! And doing so is UGLY UGLY UGLY! Unfortunately, this happens a lot because (as explained above) many people either never even tried learning the use of lead came or gave it up because copper foil was easier. But any master of this craft and EVERY professional who exchanges their work for money should know both lead and copper foil so that they can choose based on the specifics of the project, not by what they know and don't know. Symmetrical designs should ALWAYS be leaded, not foiled, and that includes almost all beveled artworks.

2) Studios or individual stained glass artists who use lead or copper foil around the outside edge of a stained glass or beveled glass panel. Many glass artists use a soft metal like lead because [a] they know too little about proper reinforcement of the artworks they make, or [b] they aren't skilled enough to make the artwork come out square (or round or whatever), or [c] they aren't skilled enough to make the artwork come out the exact right size. Regardless of which of these reasons result in artworks edged in lead or copper foil, this is a giant red flag, in my opinion (the exception to this may be the tiny background-less skiers, sailboats, pieces of fruit, etc. known collectively as "suncatchers" that many glass artists [me included] make early in their glass-making careers and which a few artisans choose to make a full-time career of). Any artwork that has an area of more than one square foot or has an overall shape that is square, rectangular, circular, oval, octagonal, etc. should have a reinforced outer edge made out of some other metal than lead or copper foil. The most common option is zinc came, which comes in many "U" or single-channeled sizes (as opposed to the "H" or double-channeled type of came used for interior leadlines). Most "U" zinc cames have an enclosed air-filled space built in, adding even more strength. Brass is also an option here, but usually for smaller panels since most brass cames I've seen have no enclosed air-filled space.

The most common reason for using lead around the outside edge of a stained or beveled glass artwork is that the artisan cannot make the artwork the exact size it needs to be (poor mechanical drawing skills, poor glass cutting, poor leading or copper foiling, etc. all lead to an artwork that is "off" in size if not in other ways too). Lead around the outside edge, especially double-channeled or "H" lead cames) allow the artisan to shave down or hammer down the overall size of the artwork at the time of installation. Unfortunately, this results in an artwork that has all of it's weight on a soft metal "H". Over time, the bottom channel will compress, allowing the artwork to sink down within the space in which it is installed. This results in the outer edge showing more at the top of the artwork than at the bottom. I have even seen a visible gap at the top of an installed artwork where the artwork has sunk low enough to reveal its entire upper edge and more. Here the word "installed" refers to artworks that are mounted in a wood or metal frame as well as those mounted in an actual window.

For hanging artworks that have no wood or metal frame, a reinforced edge is particularly important. Here, a lead or copper foil edge will usually result in the artwork sagging out of shape over time until gaps of light are visible within the interior of the artwork or around its edge. This is a fairly good indicator of either a poor attitude ("'s cheaper and I'll sell the artwork long before the flaws show up.") or a craftsperson who has started selling his or her artworks before learning enough about the craft. Again, ask questions!

3) When a mounted artwork has a came around its outer edge that is too large to be fully hidden by the frame or molding that holds it in place. This can be found in both hanging and mounted artworks. Although this last item may be just a matter of taste, it may also be an indicator of poor craftsmanship. Here the edge came can be seen sticking out beyond the wood or metal in which it's mounted. I think this looks bad artistically, so I always use a 1/2 inch "U" zinc edging where a 5/8 or 3/4 inch molding will hold the artwork in place, or a 1/4 inch "U" zinc edging where a 3/8 inch molding will hold the artwork in place, etc. Since I make all of my pieces to be exactly 1/16 of an inch smaller than the opening in which they will be mounted, none of the edging came shows (especially at the top of the artwork). Some artists may do this because they think it looks best for the edging to show, but this may also be the work of an artisan who cannot make the artwork come out the right size, and so uses a soft lead edge around the artwork (see #2 just above). Once again, find out why the artist does this and don't hesitate to "read between the lines" of what the artist is telling you.

Well, that's about it. I've probably forgotten something, but this should be enough to help you choose a skilled glass craftsperson or studio (and to impress your friends at the next cocktail party where stained glass technique comes up). If you wish, you may contact me (here) to ask a clarifying question.

Remember, there are far too many inexperienced glass "hobbyists" parading as professional artisans. I can't tell you how many people have seen my work at craft fairs and whine to me about the art glass commission they had done for their home or office that's falling apart or just isn't up to the level of my work (and for which they paid the same as I would have charged them). Be wary! Be willing to ask informed questions. Ask to see both leaded and copper foiled examples of the work of an artisan before commissioning an artwork. Be willing to shop around. Be assured of the craftsmanship as well as the design abilities of an artisan before proceeding with a commission or purchasing a ready-made artwork. There are artisans out there who have good artistic ideas and drawing capabilities, but poor craftsmanship. There are also those who craft well but whose art is borrowed rather than original. You deserve both original design and good craftsmanship. Be sure BEFORE you "sign on the dotted line."

I hope this has helped.


Alright... I've just found another stained glass web site that is LYING to the public. This is probably the dozenth (is that a word?) time I've found an unscrupulous company attempting to fool people into thinking that images on their web site are actual stained glass when, in fact, they are just drawings or doctored photographs! So, even though everything I've ever read says never put down the "other guy" while promoting yourself, I'm so fed up with this that I just have to speak out. Here's what you need to look for...


If it doesn't look like real stained glass, it probably isn't. More and more web sites are showing images that are just drawings. This means they DID NOT ACTUALLY MAKE what you're looking at, and may or may not be qualified to do so. There are drawing programs designed for stained glass that can produce designs that look almost like real glass. Quick giveaways include...

[1] solid white (or solid color) backgrounds - When taking a photo of a stained glass window, whatever is behind the glass will almost always show though to some point. An image that has a solid background could be a drawing. If you see this, look closer and if you contact these people, ask direct questions about whether a particular image is a photo or a drawing.

[2] fills that don't look like real glass - A "fill" is a computer-generated color or pattern that can be used to color in a space that is surrounded by a black line (WOW! just like in real stained glass - how convenient!). Fills are not able to emmulate the true beauty or variety of real stained glass. If it doesn't look like glass, it may not be. Another way to spot a fill is that the drawing program often uses the same fill to color in multiple spaces in the same image. If you see a pattern in a fill that repeats in other pieces of glass, it's a drawing, not a real stained glass window. Study the patterns in the glass closely. Real glass will NEVER have repeats in the patterns. Drawings will often have these repeats.

[3] photographic fills that repeat - Nowadays, some stained glass drawing programs can even import images of real glass to be used as fills. While this is great for showing a client what their custom stained glass might look like, it is also being used to misrepresent drawings as the real thing. The giveaway, once again, is that repeats can be found in different pieces. Say a wispy amber is being used for the background of a religious window (like I just saw on one web site)... there will probably be multiple pieces filled in with the photograph of a wispy amber glass. Look for repeats in the patterns of the glass. Real glass will NEVER have exact repeats. Some of the repeats may have been stretched in one dimension or made bigger to fill a larger piece of glass, but if you look closely, you will see the repetition.

[4] drawings that are repeated in a setting - In the web site that I just visited that got me angry enough to add these red flags to this web page, not only were there numerous examples of religious windows that were drawings masquerading as real stained glass windows, but these drawings were pasted into photographs of internal and external church walls to make it look like they had done a whole row of matching windows. By looking closely, I could see the repeats in the patterns in the glass from one window to the next. I could also see how the stained glass did not quite fit the window openings into which they had been inserted.


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