Scottish Stained Glass, is our parent company and we love being in this family because it gives us a chance to take part in stunning historical stained glass restorations, repairs, replacements, and recreations. One recent project we are especially proud of is Sam Houston State University. This was a chance for us to breathe new life into a campus that lost one of its most iconic features, a stained glass window.
Replicating Sam Houston State’s Historic Stained Glass Windows
Sam Houston State University was founded in1879 making it one of the oldest schools in Texas. The now sprawling campus was once made up of lovely arched bricked structures, one of which was adorned with a lovely stained glass window. A rare feature in Texas at this time, this window was the pride and joy of the school. Sadly, in 1982 it was destroyed in a fire. During the pandemic. SHSU decided it was time to bring that window back as a way to commemorate their school motto “The measure of a Life is its Service”. They invited Scottish Stained Glass to work on this project–and we couldn’t be happier they did!
The First Challenge of Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
The biggest issue with this window replication was–the window was lost to time because the original stained glass was completely destroyed in the fire. Also, there was a little historical record of the window outside of one picture in a yearbook from 1962. Using just that single color photo to guide our way, we did what we do best–create a masterpiece.
Modern Technology for Restoring Stained Glass
Our strategy as stained glass restoration experts is to use old and new technology to get the very best results. This meant scanning this picture into the computer and then printing it out full size to trace the lines exactly. We then loaded the line drawing back into the computer to resize it since the school requested a new window twice the size. Admittedly that process was hard and time-consuming but it was worth it since it paid off in beauty and accuracy!
Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
A major issue with this project and many others that we have done is trying to source materials that were used over 100 years ago! Many of the color formulas are gone and some color ingredients no longer exist. So to find very close matches to all the colors we used our very best conservation specialists. They were able to find nearly exact matches to every color in the original stained glass windows. Since “close enough” is not as accurate as we like to be. we next turned to our network of stained glass painting artists. They were able to apply additional layers on top of the “close” hues to make them exactly accurate.
The Results of the Recreated Commemorative Stained Glass Window
This work of stained glass art took us almost a full year. This is not uncommon with stained glass restorations of this scope. The end piece had 3,000- 4,000 individual pieces and over 10 layers of delicate paint to create shadows on clothing and faces. Aesthetically speaking, the window is stunning. So much so it has once again become the crown of the campus The entire university–from staff to students loves the new piece and once again the school has a crowning jewel! We here at Kansas City Stained Glass are also thrilled with the masterpiece we created as we take great pride in our work. To us, stained glass restoration, repair, and recreation projects are a way of giving respect to the artwork of old and preserving it for generations to come.
If you have a stained glass restoration or rebuild project we would love to speak to you about it too! Contact us at Kansas City Stained Glass today for a free consultation.