“An Art of Stained Glass”

Written by April Joy Porras, B.S. in Biology IV.

Stained glass painting is a form of art wherein pieces of colored glass are being used as a medium to form decorative patterns and pictorial designs in a lead framework like a mosaic to form a whole imagery. These paintings are commonly seen in the windows of churches, cathedrals, mosques and other significant architectural structures. The designs on the paintings mostly incorporate narratives drawn from the Bible, some represents saints or patrons or use symbolic motifs, in particular armorial. On the interior side of the church, episodes from the life of Jesus Christ were seen embarked on the ceilings. Stained glass paintings seen on churches had a long history that dates back a thousand of years ago in medieval times and was still traditionally made the same way today.

‘Stained glass’ was derived from the silver stain that was often applied to the side of the window that faces the outside of the building. The silver stain was turned into yellow color that ranges from lemon to gold when the glass was fired. It is also enhanced by the daylight that changes with the weather, season, and time of day. When a glass panel is shot through with a strong ray of light, you can see the colors floating off the top of the panel, and this is what makes it such a moving, and almost mystical, art form.

Stained glass is not only an art that requires artistic skills to make beautiful and creative designs but it is also a craft that requires engineering skills in assembling each pieces of the puzzle to make a one whole image. Also, it’s not only used a decorative element that provides aesthetic pleasure due to its designs but that piece of glass art also has its underlying purpose. It also provides resistance to wind and rain, creates a comfortable atmosphere and retains privacy.

Then and now, stained glass painting had never fade its popularity. It cannot only be seen in churches but also in luxury homes, commercial buildings, and private houses. It is considered as an art that inspired the lives of the faithful through religious narratives in churches and cloisters, celebrated family and political ties in city hall, and even decorated the windows of private houses.

Stained glass painting is an artform that is widely known around the world especially in Western Europe but in the Philippines, only some of pioneers of stained glass makers have long been recognized. They are Kraut Art Glass, Crystalla Art Glass Gallery, and Pancho piano who is a renowned multi-awarded Filipino Stained Glass artist and others I did not mention. But I think there are also a lot of aspiring stained glass artists hidden on the outskirts of towns around the country waiting and longing to be recognized and acknowledged by the Filipinos how talented they are as an artist. Through this paper, one of those artists had been given the opportunity to share his talent and express his dedication, passion and love in the art of stained glass.

This artist I know is one of the infamous stained glass painter in the town of Badiangan, Iloilo. His name is Mark Mogato and he is a stained glass artist. Being a painter was not only because of his hobby but also because he does it for a living. Just like any other people, he is an ordinary person graduated in high school and in college. His father is a carpenter and his mother is a housewife and he is one of their 6 siblings. It seems that their family have “artistry” that flows in their blood since 2 of his brothers were also artists who excels in charcoal drawing, realistic drawing or painting, water color painting, lettering sign boards, murals, and many other kinds of stuff.

Ever since he was a child, he had been shown to possess many talents in drawing because he is the representative of the school in every interschool art contests when he was in kinder up until elementary. He was always the winner of those events even though his opponents were already older than him. Now in his age, he could already say that being an artist was an inborn talent of him. Currently, he is at an age of 27 and he works as a stained glass painter in Cebu because he got recruited by his brother Gonzalo who is also a stained glass painter.  He also have a part-time job in advertising such as making sign-boards. His own self and his family is one that gives him motivation to pursue his dreams and talent as an artist. Stained glass painter as a living was not bad as you know it because it the income is also expensive. Every square foot costs P150 and the painting that they usually make is about 400 up to 1000 square foot, and it earns for about P150, 000 each.

Stained glass painting was not easy at all. It not only requires wide artistic minds of creativity but also patience, carefulness, hard work, and perseverance in doing the art. Making a stained glass panting always starts with drawing a full-sized image on a manila paper. These full-sized drawings must equally match the size of the whole window. Images may be patterns, people, texts and symbols, and figures such as flora, fauna and landscape. These drawn patterns is overlapped by a glass and traced using a marker. The traced glass was cut into parts according to its shape, with every parts making up a whole image. Every piece of glass was painted with a desired color using a sponge. Sponge was used commonly instead of brush to provide a smooth finish because the brush provides unpleasant finish. Furthermore by using sponge, the painting can be easily done and it spreads nicely on the glass compared to the brush. Brushstrokes can only be used in drawing fine outlines in the eyes, hair, moustache, details of the fingers, the flowers and other intricate designs seen on the image to create texture(for example the foldings of the saint’s clothing)  as said by the artist. Other designs was due to the blending of different shades of colors that provides three-dimensionality to the image. The coloring solution was prepared by mixing the coloring powder with swege. Swege liquefies the coloring powder to be able to apply it on the glass. After the painting was finished coloring, it was then put into a kiln or oven for an hour to make it dry. The heat of the kiln causes the paint to fuse permanently to the surface of the glass. Separate glass pieces was cooled for a while before assembling. Every pieces was arranged like pieces of a puzzle and they are joined by a lead to form the whole image as well as to hold the edges together. Lead was used because of its flexibility and adaptability needed for fitting the various shapes of the glass pieces. Sections of lead are then joined together with a solder to provide firmness to the whole painting. The finished product can observed in some of the artist’s works provided by the picture.

Making a stained glass art is the fruit of all the hard work of an artist, starting from thinking creative designs and patterns for the artwork, the drawing, the painting, and until the crafting of every pieces to make a complete image, all that the artist had accomplished had also made him achieve such sense of proud and fulfillment on himself. That’s why, I could say that stained glass painting really is not some ordinary form of art that serves it purpose. However it is a religious art that symbolizes its existence to the representation and manifestation of faithfulness and compassion of the people on their religious belief that until today for a thousand of years, it’s a tradition that they continue to preserve this as a form of art.

References:

Stained glass history and techniques. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Khan Academy. Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/getty-museum/getty-decorative-arts/a/stained-glass-history-and-technique

Pancho Piano: Philippine’s Best Stained Glass Artist. Retrieved from http://www.panchopiano.com/

Kraut Art Glass 1912:100 years. Retrieved from http://www.krautartglass.com

Artist’s profile

Name: Mark Mogato

Address: Brgy. Cabayogan, Badiangan, Iloilo

Phone number: 09084799073

E-mail address: Mark.mogato@yahoo.com

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