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Stained glass master welcomes new medium

A full color palette for sacred artwork

Respected stained glass master welcomes new digital medium for an ancient craft at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Texas

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Texas is a new project by Raymond O'Conner Architects of Fort Worth (Texas), dedicated in the fall of 2005. The diocese, located in a relatively poor part of Fort Worth, was operating on a tight budget to complete the church and there were initially fears that traditional stained glass windows would be cost-prohibitive.

The problem was solved by the use of DuPont™ SentryGlas® Expressions™ technology, which enabled respected stained glass master Jeff Smith of Texas-based Architectural Stained Glass Inc. to complete a series of vibrant and colorful sacred art laminated glass windows for the Church. The sacred artwork featured in the windows is based on a contemporary reading of traditional Christian themes, personae and symbols. The job was completed with cost savings of at least 25 percent compared to an equivalent set of stained glass windows, by Smith's estimate. The laminated glass was supplied by Arch Deco Glass, a division of Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Inc. of Columbus, Ohio.

Smith told LGN: "I was overwhelmed by the creative freedom of being able to select any color at all (the traditional stained glass color palette is limited to several hundred colors), by being able to factor in textures by using a system of light to dark gradients in one pane of glass - for example red to purple - and being able to select the degree of transparency I wanted to use as a background, from opaque to translucent to 100 percent transparent for optimal light transmission."

He noted that other advantages of using SentryGlas® Expressions™ compared to traditional stained glass included long-term protection of the artwork within the laminate and sound reduction benefits inside the church due to the PVB layer in the laminated glass.