One of our favorite parts of the job here at Denver Stained Glass is definitely giving our customers back their lovely stained glass windows when we do restorations or rebuilds. It is wonderful to see the joy that restored stained glass brings to churches, synagogues, historic homes, and, like in this case, universities. As part of the Scottish Stained Glass family, we are lucky enough to take part in restoring stained glass masterpieces regularly. Like the window as Sam Houston State University–lost to a fire.
Replicating Sam Houston State’s Historic Stained Glass Window
Sam Houston State University is one of the oldest in Texas–founded in 1879. Its original design included a lovely stained glass window. This window was iconic to the school but was sadly destroyed in a fire (1982) that ravaged one of the main original buildings. SHSU decided to commemorate their school motto “The measure of a Life is its Service, through replicating the original stained glass. They entrusted us with the charge–and we were truly honored to be a part of preserving the legacy of such an amazing organization.
The First Challenge of Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
By far the biggest challenge of this job was the fact that our team was creating a replication from very little. It is important to us to always deliver the respect these cherished stained glass pieces deserve through accurately restoring or recreating. With only a picture from a 1962 yearbook to guide their way, they began first by recreating the design using modern technology.
We first scanned the picture into the computer and painstakingly traced each line. After that, we scanned the drawing into our design software for perfect proportions to the original then double the size per request of the university.
The Second Challenge of Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
The second issue was one of sourcing materials used over a century ago. The materials from that era simply did not exist. This meant finding the exact colors would be a challenge. We came up with a brilliant solution to this. We first tapped our conservation specialist to find glass in colors that were as close as possible to the originals. Next, we had our painted stained glass artists paint over the colors to make them exactly match the original hues. While the materials were not original the final look was exact!
The Results of the Recreated Commemorative Stained Glass Window
All in all, over ten layers were used to create accurate shadowing and depth and this lovely commemorative window has about 3,000- 4,000 pieces the university staff, board, and students were absolutely delighted with the final product and honestly–we were too! We’re always so proud when we can be part of an amazing project to restore and preserve history 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 Denver Stained Glass today for a free consultation.