After creating stained glass art in its traditional form for over twenty years, Gary James realized that he needed to free himself from its inherent limitations. Flat glass has a narrow selection of colors – he wanted a palette that was more expansive. More importantly, where he had once relished emulating the design styles of the likes of Tiffany, Lafarge and Wright, he yearned to break free of them and find his own way.
Drawn to the qualities of pastel and watercolor, James thought it might be possible, and perhaps much more interesting, to apply those techniques to glass. Traditional methods of applying vitreous paints (kiln fired glass paints) result in a rather narrow palette of color. However, through numerous trials James discovered that he could customize the color by taking advantage of enamels that fired at different temperatures and by applying the paint to both the front and back sides of the glass. Further, by layering multiple pieces of glass one behind the other James was able to achieve an abstraction and depth of color unlike anything he had ever seen in stained glass.
The “creative” process challenged James to devise still more innovative ways to apply washes and textures to the surfaces of the glass. “As I worked, an unexpected and welcome evolution of the process occurred,” said James. “This divergence from old traditions, this new direction, this more primitive and impressionistic approach has enabled me to achieve a deeper level of expressiveness. A level that goes beyond what many even consider to be stained glass. My desire is to delve into and more fully explore this journey that I can consider to be my own.”
Check out Gary's website to see the glass masterpieces he has created!