How Do I Choose A Stained Glass Specialist?

Historic glass windows are unique treasures that allow us a rare glimpse into history.

A badly repaired historic stained glass window

Some historic windows have been subject to careless repairs.

Tragically, many windows have been lost to the devastation of time and improper care. But in the hands of an experienced stained glass specialist these windows can be enjoyed for centuries to come.

Caring for historic glass is an art and care must be taken in choosing the right studio and specialist. But how do you know who has the right skills and knowledge to restore and care for your windows?

We’ve compiled a list of simple ways you can help ensure you’re dealing with a professional.

1) Solicit bids from experienced studios. An accredited conservator-restorer will possess the necessary skills and knowledge to work with your historic windows.

2) A representative will visit you to conduct an on site visual inspection of the window. The studio will them submit a written bid and proposal.

3) Request a list of previous restorations and references from the studio.

A professional will seek to conserve as much of the original window as possible.

A professional will seek to conserve as much of the original window as possible.

4) Follow up with these previous clients and examine the windows listed in the studio’s portfolio. Ask references how well the studio respected their needs, if they fulfilled their contract and if the client was pleased with the overall result.

5) While reviewing your options keep in mind an experienced professional will seek to conserve as much of the original window as possible. Proper restoration will not interfere with the structural or artistic integrity of the window, and can be undone without damage.

6) Restoring historic stained glass is an expensive task – the lowest bid is not necessarily the best buy.

Are you interested in working with EGD Glass on your next glass project? Contact us today to request a proposal.

Stained Glass Restoration at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in TorontoDuring the spring of 2014 a team from EGD Glass is working to install the north windows at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto. An ongoing restoration of all of the stained glass windows in the church is in process. Stay tuned for more information about the completed restoration.

Featured In The Toronto Star: EGD Glass at St. Michael’s Hospital

Stained Glass St. Michael's HosptialEGD Glass has been featured in the Toronto Star. A team from EGD Glass is working to restore the 75-year-old stained glass windows that line the chapel at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

EGD’s goal at St. Michael’s is to maintain the historical integrity of the stained glass by using as much of the original material as possible. The windows were designed by Yvonne Williams, regarded by many as the greatest Canadian stained glass artist of the 20th century.

We expect to finish this project by December. Read more in the Toronto Star.

Macaulay Church Museum Commemorative Window

Panel before repair by EGD

Panel before repair by EGD

As a final note to the restoration of the Macaulay Museum Church in Picton, the stained glass window in the vestibule was reinstated in August 2013.

The original panel was reportedly removed from a local church in Picton and installed in the vestibule, both the date and story have yet to be verified.

Panel after repair by EGD

Panel after repair by EGD

The panel was in poor condition when EGD carried out the stained glass survey in 2010.

The restoration of the panel was not included in the 2010 – 11 refurbishment program. The ‘Friends of Macaulay Heritage Park’ volunteers took it upon themselves to find the funds to restore the window.

The restoration included maintaining as much of the original glass as possible, replicating the filigree stencilled pattern and acknowledging the key supporters of the restoration program.

Detail of restored window

Detail of restored window

Conserving History: The Great Chancel Windows of St.Paul’s Anglican Church, Toronto

Conserving History: The Great Chancel Windows

Stained glass windows

Great Chancel Windows

By Tanya Baleta, Communications Coordinator at St. Paul’s Bloor Street

On the morning of April 22nd staff arrived at St. Paul’s Bloor Street to a shocking sight. One of the historic stained glass windows in the Chancel was broken – but by who or what was not known. The congregation took to our Facebook page to express shock and concern as we worked to find the best solution to conserve the window.

The great chancel windows are the centre piece of the south wall. They were dedicated by Canon Cody on November 27th, 1921 on the 8th anniversary of the dedication of the church. The three part window contains 136 figures representing biblical characters and occupies a total area of 688 square feet. It is one of the largest window groups in North America.

Broken stained glass window

The lower panel was shattered.

They were dedicated by the congregation “To the Greater Glory of God and in Everlasting Remembrance of the Men of St. Paul’s who gave their lives in Defence of Justice, Liberty and Trust, A.D. 1914-1919.”

There were 74 men of the congregation who gave their lives in WWI and their names are inscribed on the marble structure beneath the windows.

The Solution

Eve Guinan repairing stained glass.

Eve working on a new panel for the Great Chancel Window.

Eve Guinan of EDG Glass Studio, has been working with stained glass since she was 14. She has worked on conservation projects in the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and a variety of historic churches in Toronto. She has been working to restore and conserve the stained glass at St. Paul’s since 1992.

“I was shocked when I saw it,” she said. “But what we think happened is that a raccoon got up there and decided to try to get in.”

The outside of the stained glass is covered by a titanium mesh, held in place by tension wire which is bolted to the stonework. It appears as though the raccoon pulled at the corner of the mesh and broke it. The sheer force of the tension snapping could have broken the window.

The original shards of glass will be put back together and given to the St. Paul’s archives, where they can be better protected.

Repairing stained glass window

Putting the remaining pieces back together.

Creating the replica is a long process, and complicated by the fact that Eve has to ensure the colours are a precise match. “It’s not me painting, using my own hand,” she said. “I have to copy what has already been done. The first step is selecting the right handmade glass, and then I paint.”

Once the glass is painted, it will be fired in a 1600 degree kiln for 24 hours. The glass must then be allowed to cool, before another layer of paint is applied. This process is repeated three or four times.

Once Eve is satisfied with the painting, she will lead and solder the panel. It will then be ready to be installed. The project is expected to take at least a month.

Repairing stained glass window

A close up of the broken panel.

“This is about the history and the heritage of the church, the community and Canadians who went to war,” said Eve. “What people don’t realize is that every stained glass window has an amazing story to it because of the family or parishioners who got the funds together to have them made. When you look at the windows you can read the stories in them – the history is all in the glass.”

Reclaimed Stained Glass for Sale

These stained glass window depicting the life of Jesus were designed for St. George Anglican Church, East Toronto. The windows were designed and fabricated in Toronto by a local glass artist and are approximately 40 years old, they are painted and fired in the traditional technique. The church was closed in 2011.

This example shows you a full length view of the window in place. This the 11 panel type which is the bulk of this lot except the nativity ( a nine panel set) and the smaller saints group of two windows. 

Look at all the windows in Lot 177 by following this link:

BlogImageSt. George Large 7

Great article showcasing Eve Guinan’s work in City and Country Home December 1993- January 1994

Great article showcasing Eve Guinan’s work in City and Country Home December 1993- January 1994

Check out this old article we dug up about Marilyn Lighstone and Moses Znaimer’s home in Toronto, Ontario.

What a great article and gorgeous images of how stained glass can be used all over your home.