Like color or colored light in your home? Stained glass is a decorative addition. The colored glass looks best when light is shining through it, so it's most often used in windows, lamps or light fixtures. In windows it can either be the glass of the window or a "light catcher", that is glass that hangs in front of or from the window. Stained glass has multiple uses and can also be an engaging, creative hobby.
Stained glass serves many purposes. The primary purpose now is decorative. In the past, stained glass in churches and other public places was sometimes used to tell a story, to add illustrations to well known stories or memorialize someone. By filtering the light, stained glass can mute lighting in places where you wouldn't want too much bright, direct sunlight. The opacity or degree to which you can see through stained glass varies. So, with the right selections of glass, stained glass can also allow light in while providing privacy. Stained glass can be clear enough to see who is on the other side, or more opaque so you can see that someone is there, but not any details. Stained glass can also be used to set a mood by adjusting the color of the light -- for instance, by providing a room with a warm rosy glow.
Creating or designing objects that use stained glass can also be a hobby. As a hobby, making stained glass objects involves several activities and materials that can be hazardous. Cut glass can have sharp edges; grinders require eye goggles; and lead is often used to hold the glass together. Most stained glass objects use strips of lead or copper to hold the pieces together.
Stained glass can be purchased, or many people enjoy learning how and making their own stained glass windows and other object. It can be a rather expensive hobby. Lessons can range in price. Supplies include the glass, patterns, lead or copper, flux, solder. Tools include glass cutters, grinders, goggles, a soldering iron and brushes. A class may include some of these supplies and use of some tools. Because of the chemicals and materials used, much of the work must be done in a well ventilated workspace. You also need a flat workspace where glass can be cut, chemicals used, patterns laid out, and where small fragments of glass, pieces of lead or copper can be cleaned up and kept away from children, pets or others who may be hurt by them.
- SGAA - Stained Glass Association of America, a professional trade association
- Wikipedia's article on stained glass
- Wikipedia's article on Louis Comfort Tiffany