I worked on four main projects, Chapel Panel - restoration of an old tracery as a practise exercise, Face Restoration - the restoration of a shattered face from an unknown window, Face Copy - the replication of the broken face to incorporate into a new modern design, and St Cross - church restoration project where I helped to restore some windows. My experience at Chapel Studio was a good exercise in practising processes I was already familiar with and engaging in new methods of doing the same things. It is always interesting to see how a new studio practice differs from an old one. In this next section of the report I will take you through all that I have worked on breaking it up into separate projects so the information is more manageable. It is worth noting that in reality I was working on them all in tandem but for the purpose of keeping it bite-size I will start will Chapel Panel and work through in the order given above.
Chapel Panel was the working title given to the tracery Rachel had in storage at Chapel Studio. She did not know where it had come from, who made it or exactly how old it was, but it is likely to be Victorian. In the studio they have a collection of pieces just like this that have perhaps been left over from jobs or not wanted back because they are too badly damaged. I was tasked with the job of restoring this panel, however it was still meant to look old, so not restored to former glory but restored to something in between.
(Fig 9. Image of Chapel Panel being taken apart and laid out on rubbing)
After Chapel panel was taken apart I cleaned all of the glass with distilled water, cotton buds and
(Fig 10. Image of Chapel Panel after Cleaning)
paper towel. Some of the paint was quite loose, much of it very faded and some non-existent. First I tried to replace these pieces of glass. I went downstairs and matched the old glass to similar colours in the racks at the studio. I cut this new glass to replace the old. I used paper to draw by eye the ghost impressions of where the paint had been and what it looked like to later replicate.
(Fig 11. Image of new paintwork made to look aged)
After I had cut these to fit together exactly, I painted them with the same paint mix only far waterier and blotchy so they were dark and light in different areas. This helped to give the effect of natural fading and eroding paint. To enhance this illusion I then stippled on top of the dried paint to further erode it. This worked well and looked really similar to the original paint work. They were made so the original glass would go on top and the new glass would be sandwiched underneath with the freshly painted areas facing upwards to meet the old glass so it would be more protected from the elements.
(Fig 12. Image shows original glass silicon plated on top of new glass)
Once fired I re-cleaned both sections of glass and taped slithers of magic tape to them to hold each paring in place. I then silicone glued them using 'Ace Silicones; Silcoset 153' to stick them along the edges. I was told I could also use a different silicone 'Bluestar Silicone CAF 3' which is more liquid and good for cracks. I used a knife to apply the glue and once the glue had dried I removed the tape and re-glued over the gaps. I was told it was very important that there be no gaps whatsoever because when putting the panel together putty can slip between the gaps in the silicone and slide between the glass layers making a mess. I therefore did several layers of glue before the segments were finally ready to use.
On less important areas I copper foiled cracked glass, trimming back the foil with a blade to the bare minimum so the soldering would be less visible. On more prominent areas I used silicone to piece back together straight cracks. I first cleaned the glass then taped it securely on both sides with magic tape over where the cracks were, completely covering them. I then cut along the crack line with a sharp blade one side, leaving the tape intact on the other, so that the cracks are able to flap open but remain held together. The tape is both sides including the side where it has been cut for a reason. When the crack is siliconed this tape will prevent the silicone going onto the surface of the glass because it could leave a residue that may scratch any paint during removal. The tape therefore acts as a barrier to the glue.
Once the silicone is made up it is dabbed into the open cracks which are then shut firmly and pressed flat against the table so all the excess glue squeezes out. When the glue is set the excess is scraped off with a knife and the tape is removed.
(Fig 14. Image of Chapel Panel restored)