Every time you go shopping, you find yourself drawn to stained glass. Stained glass lampshades, sun catchers, fireplace screens -- whatever the piece, you adore stained glass and now you're ready to purchase a stained glass window for your home.
Stained glass can be a beautiful asset to any home, but in order to buy a piece that will last, you need to be a savvy shopper. Here are some tips to ensure you get a quality work of art:
Choose a quality studio. Go through the same process as you would when selecting any other service. Ask for recommendations, set up interviews, check out references and choose the best studio for the job. Be leery of studios that use inexpensive materials or unskilled labor. Find out about the qualifications of their artists, as well as where they are located. Better studios have artists that work in house.
Opt for the best design within your budget. Let the studio know what you're after and work with them to come up with a pleasing design. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion on any design sketches or the method suggested to create the piece. Although cheaper, pieces created through the overlay method, in which lead strips are glued to a single piece of glass and various sections are colored, do not exhibit the same rich colors and textures of traditional stained glass, nor can they be repaired. Stained glass windows can be pricey; make certain yours turns out the way you envisioned.
Give the artist leeway. Allow them room to make changes and improve upon their design. Don't insist that they obtain your approval for every minor modification. You may not be available when they call, and the longer they have to wait, the more likely your project will fall behind. If the artist sees that they need to use a slightly paler blue, they should be free to do so without contacting you.
Be patient throughout the process. It takes time to create a work of art. Don't expect your window to be finished in a day or two and hound the studio with calls until it is done. Don't drop by constantly either to monitor the artist's progress. You will only force them to work faster and increase the chance for error.
Hire an experienced installer. If the studio doesn't have an installer, ask them to recommend someone or start calling around. Make certain the installer you select is experienced in working with stained glass. In addition to installing it, many professionals also repair and restore stained glass. As a result, they know how to handle stained glass and can ensure you a quality installation.
Stained glass is a work of art like any fine painting or sculpture. Treat it as such and work to find the best artist and installer. That way, you will be guaranteed a lovely addition to your home that will be easy to maintain and last for years to come.