Chapter 2: Panel #2 – Restoration of the original stained glass panes for the Centenary United Methodist Church in Historic Downtown New Bern, NC.
Cleaning and swapping broken sections of original glass pieces to create one completely repaired & restored original glass panel.
Restoration work is tedious dirty work and next to impossible in finding the exact glass necessary to repair older broken colored glass panels today.
Much of the necessary glass needed is no longer available as many glass factories and glass artisans that made colored sheet glass have retired or are out of business. So, having two available and identical panels to choose unbroken glass sections from to restore one complete stained glass panel is a dream come true.
The Centenary Church glass panels built in 1904 and undergoing restoration 118 years later in my studio, make me think of yesterday and those artisans who made these designs using the same tools back then that we still use today. The tools of this trade have not changed very much.
Even though electricity was invented in 1881, it did not come to America until 1920 and it took another 60 years for it to reach New Bern making its debut somewhere around circa 1935. It is a good assumption these Centenary Church panels were made with soldering irons that were heated by coal fire. Cutting curved glass pieces were made by hand since glass grinders were not available yet.
Only the artisans that restore these old historic panels can appreciate the level of skill it took to create such intricate glass panels. I count myself among those highly skilled artists that help preserve the past for future generations.
Chapter 3: Mounting panels in the original frames and back to Centenary United Methodist Church ….. stay tuned.