The Process of Making Art Glass

The Process of Making Art Glass

The decorative art glass panels created by Art Glass by Summit™ represent a marriage of traditional hand-crafted art and modern technology. Designs are transferred to glass panels using a process similar to those employed in silk-screening. Colored pigments fuse with the glass during firing in a specially designed kiln, a process that is done for each color pigment.

The creation of a Art Glass by Summit™ art glass painting begins when the we receive a high-resolution image of the work to be reproduced. Images are provided in two formats: a hard-copy color print and an electronic image. The hard-copy print provides a truthful record of the color of the original work of art, while the electronic image is used by our resident artists to pick up details for drawing on the computer.

The process begins by printing out the electronic image at full size on photo paper. The printout doesn’t capture all of the details that are actually present in the image, so on the computer, the artist enlarges the electronic image. This reveals all of the details, which the artist then carefully outlines. Once outlined, the details will be captured in the high-resolution image that the artist subsequently prints out. Such work requires not only a good eye but also above-average drawing skills.

Next, the artist analyzes the image, identifying the colors used in the full-color hard-copy photographic print supplied by the client and matching those colors to color chips. Art Glass by Summit™ produces its own range of high-quality pigments and is thus able to provide superior color matching and fusion to the glass. After identifying the colors in the color print, the artist separates the colors used in the original image into single colors, a process widely used in printing and known as color separation.

As in certain types of woodblock printing, each color will be applied as a layer on the glass panel. If there are 15 colors in the original image, for example, there will be 15 layers. Each layer will be applied separately, building up a series of layers printed on top of each other and gradually producing a full-colored image.

Drawing the image to preserve all the details of the original work of art, matching the colors of the pigments to the colors of the colored print, and performing the color separation are the most exacting parts of the entire glass-painting process. Art Glass by Summit™ specializes in these aspects of the process, which are essential to a finished panel that embodies the color and clarity of the original work of art.

Each layer is applied to a plastic sheet, or film, and each sheet will be used to render a different color. To ensure perfect registration, or the exact alignment of each layer with every other layer, the sheets must be aligned perfectly in the screening process. Great care is taken to achieve this, as imperfect registration would produce a blurry or “out of focus” image.

Technicians then paint the image on a sheet of glass, building up the image by layers – in other words, one color at a time. Once all the layers have been applied to the sheet of glass, the glass is fired in a special kiln. During the firing process, the colors fuse permanently with the glass, thereby ensuring that they will not fade or otherwise alter, nor will they scratch off.

The fired panel serves as a sample. It is given to the artist, who analyzes the colors against the client’s hard-copy color print of the original work of art. Any deviations from the print – such as a muddy color or a color that is too weak – is corrected. The process of selecting new color chips and of screen-printing new layers and firing is repeated.

When the work of art is approved, production begins.

Custom Services Available!

Maybe you envision a custom designed panel to match your unique theme or upcoming exhibit. Your products are created by our team of passionate studio artists and craftspeople, who employ time-tested techniques in the transparent enamel painting. Call today to explore adapting your artwork to glass.