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Stained Glass Pricing – Why so much?

traditional stained glass

stained glass window

Just like everything in life you get what you pay for.   True quality and craftmanship cost more.  If you want poorly made,  cheap glass work in your home then it is available everywhere. Lots of home improvement centers have these poorly made, cheap glass available.  These are typically made in China or Mexico using the poorest quality of glass and materials and have no craftsmanship whatsoever.  These pieces are often cut randomly on a computerized water-jet cutting machine and then slammed together by people working  for less than minimum wage.  Would you rather have a Volkswagen or a Rolls Royce?  Sure, they can both get you where you are going but a Volkswagen will always drive and sound like a Volkswagen.  It lacks the polish of a Rolls.  Heads turn when a Rolls is spotted.  Has your head ever turned for a Volkswagen?  You get what you pay for.

Building a stained glass window is quite labor intensive and requires years of practice to hone your skills, and a great understanding of the tools and medias.  It also takes total dedication and passion for the work to produce a high quality panel.  All my work is hand cut, hand assembled, copper foiled, and soldered.  There isn’t a machine that can reproduce the fine quality of a hand-made piece of art glass.  It’s actually an insult to the art itself.  Louis C. Tiffany would turn over in his grave if he could see what was happening in the stained glass art world today.  We cut our hands (almost daily) and are exposed to harsh chemicals and dangerous fumes.  It can take weeks or even months to build a stained glass commission piece.  We draw the design, find and buy the glass, chose and cut all the pattern pieces, grind the sharp edges, lead or foil every piece by hand, then solder, patina, scrub,  and wax.  We have to make sure all squares are true and circles are round.  This isn’t what they do in China and Mexico in the sweat shops.  We have spent years in fine tuning our skills, thousands of dollars on tools and even more on glass.  So, you say ” Why do you do it?”  Because we are a fool in love.  Do you really want the sweat shop glass or would you rather have a piece that is custom-made just for YOU by an artist that has poured his heart and soul into it?  You decide.

To see my work and inquire about having a custom piece done just for you visit:  AGlassMenagerie.net 

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Stained Glass Windows – Price Quoting

Art Deco Fans stained glass window

Art Deco Fans

Buying a unique piece of stained glass art can be the perfect addition to any part of your home.  A fabulous stained glass  window will add texture, color, and give all of your visitors something to admire.  Basically, stained glass is made of pieces of glass infused with shades of almost any color you can imagine. There are thousands of colors/textures of glass from various manufacturers.  Sometimes finished stained glass panels will come together and represent a scene of something recognizable like a tree, flower, or animal. Other finished works will be an array of colors that do not create anything we recognize such as an abstract.

Consider a spot in your home that could used a little decoration and purchase a stained glass design that will match that area of your home. A custom-made panel isn’t any more expensive than a pre-made panel.   You may find that you prefer a stained glass artwork that is more abstract in design rather than one that has been made into something recognizable. Whatever your taste, you will enjoy having unique stained glass artwork in any part of your home.

Some folks want to know the cost of a panel right off the bat.  There are a lot of things an artist has to consider prior to figuring a price quote.  For one thing a design has to be drawn.  It’s difficult to price out a stained glass window without knowing how many pieces are in the design and how much detail will need to be included.   It’s like asking a contractor to quote building your home without giving him a set of plans.  There are other factors that contribute to the final cost of a panel such as type of glass used and if bevels or jewels will be incorporated.  It is a good idea for a client to have some sort of budget range ahead of time.  This will be considered by the artist during the design process.

Generally, glass is available in two categories:  opalescent (milky white, very opaque glass) and translucent (very transparent).   Opalescent glass typically obscures objects behind the glass.  It is used when depicting designs that need to be more solid such as an article of clothing or when privacy is desired.   Items located behind cathedral (transparent) glass can easily be seen.  The colors in cathedral glass tend to be more vivid with adequate back-lighting.  Without good back-lighting such as in a cabinet, cathedral glass tends to go dark even black.  Lighting has to be considered when selecting glass for a project.  Natural sunlight is always preferable but not an absolute requirement.

stained glass window - Iris's

Stained glass Iris

In a design basically the smaller and more irregular the glass pieces, the more difficult the window is to fabricate.  Each piece of glass is hand cut and individually wrapped with a copper foil.  A quote based on providing a window with a specific number of pieces can be misleading.  For example, consider two windows, each with 100 pieces of glass.  The first design is predominately rectangular pieces with lots of straight lead lines and uniform borders.  The second is a more irregular, figurative window with lots of curves  where no two pieces of glass are the same size or shape.  As you might imagine, the second window is the more costly design.

Each artist has their own formula for figuring the cost of a stained glass window.  I personally prefer a combination of sq ft price plus $2-3 for each piece of cut glass.  There again the pattern itself has to be considered and the degree of difficulty.  Hopefully the piece will fall within your budgeted amount and you end up with a stunning piece of stained glass for your home.

Last thing to consider is this; a stained glass window will more than likely be here long after you are gone. 😉

To have us quote you a price please contact us at  A Glass Menagerie

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