Stained Glass: Styles Commonly Used by Stained Glass Artists

Stained Glass: Styles Commonly Used by Stained Glass Artists

When they are crafting one-of-a-kind stained glass windows for homes, government buildings, hotels, or churches, stained glass artists must not only create a memorable pattern, but also select the right types of glass to bring that pattern to life. Creating custom stained glass works may involve using one or more of the types of glass described below:

Cathedral glass: Cathedral glass is readily identified by its transparency. It is usually tinted a single, uniform color, and is available in a number of textures. Cathedral glass can be layered to achieve more complex looks and colors.

Opalescent glass: This is the type most people picture when they think of stained glass. It is generally translucent, meaning that although some amount of light is allowed to pass through, objects that are on the other side of the glass are not visible. This type of glass can be a single color, but often incorporates different hues or shades.

Wispy glass: Wispy glass consists of two different colors of glass that are mixed together. The characteristic that makes wispy glass special is that one color is usually opalescent while the other is cathedral. This results in varying amounts of light being permitted to pass through the glass, which creates good color depth and interesting visual effects.

Streaky glass: Streaky glass is similar to wispy in that two different colors are combined together. The difference is that both colors are typically opalescent. Rich, complex shades are created.

Bevels: Bevels are often included as accent pieces within a larger work of stained glass or used to create a border, although there are some works composed entirely of bevels. Bevels are made of thick pieces of glass, and their edges are ground and polished in such a way that they refract light. Bevels scatter light in much the same way as prisms.

Textured glass: Most people think of glass as having a smooth surface, but the truth is that an almost endless number of textures can be produced when glass is in its molten state. Just a few types of textured glass that can be used to craft panels, windows, and other decorative elements are antique (this type has fine lines and is often used to create backgrounds), seedy (contains small trapped air bubbles), and catspaw (a unique surface texture created when hot glass is placed on a cooler table).

The types of glass described above can be combined by talented stained glass artists in countless ways. Even works created from the same pattern can be entirely different once completed because of the colors, textures, and properties of the glass used to create them.