Stained Glass Window Update

Stained Glass Window Update:

The Willet Stained Glass Company will begin work on the seventh window during the week of April 24th.  If most of you remember previous restoration projects, the process is quite interesting.  The Willet artisans take a couple of days to remove the existing window, leaving the exterior protective glass in the opening.  We have the option of having them board up the opening with plywood, but we chose to leave the window uncovered to allow the sunshine to pour in.


During the removal, several feet of vertical scaffolding is erected in front of the window project, blocking the side aisle.  The artisans carefully remove the window, panel by panel.  You would be surprised how large each frame is when you see it on the ground.  Once the existing window is removed, they dismantle the scaffolding, clean the area, and leave us alone for eight weeks or so.


Our window then makes the long trip to the Willet Studios in Winona, Minnesota.  In the studio, the Willet artisans photograph each window panel.  They take a “rubbing” of the lead framework on each panel to assure piece size and orientation.  They document and catalog every single piece of glass in every single panel. (Can you guess how many pieces of glass make up one complete stained glass window?).  Only after they complete the inventory does the tedious process of dismantling begins.  Every glass fragment gently removed and cleaned – by hand.  Broken or missing glass pieces are replaced from their massive stock of reclaimed antique glass.  Each replacement piece is matched down the smallest detail including the surface texture, color and shading.


After the glass fragments are removed, cleaned, and repaired, the artisans re-assemble each panel, following the photographs and rubbings, to assure the restored panel matches the original design down to the smallest detail.  When the window panels are completely restored, they return to St Andrew’s and reinstall the window, reversing the process they used to remove it.


We expect this whole process to take about eight weeks.  During that time, we urge you to take a close look at our beautiful windows.  Think about how much work goes into making them and keeping them in good repair.  The windows are a representation of all the good things we are as people, and how many small entities come together to make a truly spectacular work of art.


“People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD


Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model. In this work she proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief as a pattern of adjustment. These five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In general, individuals experience most of these stages, though in no defined sequence, after being faced with the reality of their impending death. The five stages have since been adopted by many as applying to the survivors of a loved one’s death, as well.

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