Stained glass has been one of the only handcrafted techniques that has stayed the same for centuries. Over the years the craftsmanship of this technique has barely changed, even with today’s technologies. You can find stained glass windows in homes, commercial buildings, and most notably religious institutions throughout the world. For over a century Associated Crafts® & Willet Hauser® has been the leader in stained glass creations and repairs, and we want to dive into the history of stained glass windows. 

There are many different techniques and styles to stained glass, but first let’s understand where the name comes from. While it may seem obvious that stained glass windows are in fact made of colored glass, they are often painted and considered a form of painting. The windows were made to shine light into homes and churches so that the light comes in as multiple colors. 

Stained Glass Origins

Stained glass has been around since ancient times. While many people know Romans to create small colored glass objects, Egyptians and Arab architects also created stained glass objects. Stained glass windows became prominent as Christianity spread throughout Europe. 

Stained glass windows were especially popular during the Gothic era. Gothic architecture largely involved stained glass windows that created light and beauty within the churches. Some of the most beautiful pieces of stained glass can be find throughout Western Europe, especially in French cathedrals. One of the main techniques founded in France that is still used today is Leaded Glass.

Stained glass windows in the Middle Ages were some of the most compelling art pieces created. The windows were not only used to bring bright light into dark churches, but they were also used to tell a story. As time went on and glass became more affordable for the common person throughout the Renaissance era stained glass became increasingly popular. Non-religious stained glass panels began to appear in homes often showing family crests. By the 12th century Gothic architecture allowed “walls of light” to be built. These windows allowed the church interiors to be filled with the color and light of God.

Today’s Stained Glass Windows

Today, stained glass windows are made in the same process that they were made centuries ago. This is one of the only craftsmanships that has stayed the same through the years. Associated Crafts® & Willet Hauser® is largely responsible for stained glass techniques in the United States. We specialize in the design, fabrication, and protection of stained glass windows. 

Throughout the years stained glass designs began to change from traditional to more abstract and semi-abstract designs. Now no longer just painted art, but truly decorative art, stained glass is not only prevalent in religious institutions but is taking over commercial buildings and artistic buildings.

Associated Crafts® & Willet Hauser® has worked on more than 35,000 churches in the United States and 14 foreign countries. Throughout the 19th century artists strived to recreate the lost artistry of stained glass windows. In the past few decades stained glass artistry has grown popular with classes and art programs at universities, as well as classes for hobby.

Are you are interested in becoming a student and artist in stained glass? Join our apprentice program! If you need your stained glass windows repaired, restored, or need a new creation Associated Crafts® & Willet Hauser® is here to help you! Learn more about what we do from our Project Guide and receive a free window inspection today. Whatever you need for your stained glass project contact us today!