The art of stained glass

"I came to love this ancient art form and began producing my own designs."

This stained glass door is functional art and entitled Sun Slide.

Interviewer: Hello, Debbie Enns. What a pleasure to talk with you on behalf of Art Palette. I am bowled over by the examples of your beautiful stained glass – the range of subjects, amazing colours, lovely designs – a very unique form of art.  How did you begin to work in this medium?

Debbie: My professional relationship with stained glass began in l990 while working with Fusion Glassworks in Kelowna, B.C.

During those years, I came to love this ancient art form and began producing my own designs. I have created several unique stained glass treatments for a variety of decorative situations and in the process, I have come to appreciate just how versatile a medium stained glass can be.

Interviewer: I see from your photographs that you can create all manner of shapes and sizes and produce traditional designs, as well as custom designs where people can see their own inspirations become form.

Debbie: Yes, stained glass can really enhance the places where we live, work and play. The pure colours of stained glass pouring into your favourite living space can transform and uplift your environment. The effect of sunlight throwing out masses of colour through, for example, a stained glass skylight, is an elegant use of the medium. A subtle mood can be created by a backlit panel.

Interviewer: I guess I have associated stained glass with churches and religious institutions.  Can you tell me something about the history of stained glass?

Debbie: Yes. The precise origins of stained glass are lost.  The form initially appeared as representations of Christ and biblical events in the l0th century, in France and Germany.  By the Middle Ages, stained glass was used prominently in the great cathedrals of Europe – in a time when artificial illumination was very limited, stained glass diffused, transformed and brought brightness to dark interiors.

By the Renaissance, stained glass had expanded from the dominion of churches to residences and public buildings. Then there was Louis Comfort Tiffany, who began producing marvellous Art Nouveau lamps for the New Age of Electricity. He created lamp shades of incredible intricacies with thin copper strips, rather than the traditional bulkier lead cane.

Interviewer: What do you use, Debbie?

Debbie: I use a wide range of coloured glass. Each piece is cut, ground, foiled and soldered on both sides. I also use brass, non-lead cane and silicone.

The different treatments allow me to create and build glass projects according to budget. Because of its colour and beauty, stained glass is arguably one of the most expressive architectural materials.  It shapes the light and mood.

Interviewer: Debbie, these are beautiful pieces you create. Thank you so much for this.  Your lovely designs are amazing. I wish we could show more of them. If people wanted to contact you for more information, how would they reach you?

Debbie: Well, actually I am planning several workshops here in Grand Forks in the fall – beginner, intermediate and advanced.  For more information I can be reached at 250-442-5828.