Pane-Less Stained Glass

Article excerpt

Sixth grade students in The Shipley School study medieval history, art and architecture in depth as part of a multidiciplinary, integrated format art class.

A major feature is the students' presentations on their units of study. The most ambitious component is the creation of life-size stained glass window designs fabricated from assorted papers. The completed windows are installed in the classrooms and hallways, filling the public spaces with luminous color and intricate design work. The effect is often as visually striking as authentic stained glass windows.

A Group Effort

The project involves group decision making, complex planning and cooperation from beginning to end. Problem solving and design development are a part of making this project work.

Each window is made in a guild fashion, completely as a group undertaking. The process parallels the work of a stained glass window maker, with the exception of authentic materials. Dimensions and number of designs are dictated by installation space and numbers of students. A typical design measures 3 x 4' (.91 x 1.22 m).

Deciding on a Design

Students take a field trip in a local community to observe medieval art and architectural style and make thumbnail sketches for their designs. The designs reflect common interests among the group or an aspect of medieval history. Subjects range from myths, magic, sports, hobbies, pets, friendship, nature, knights and armor.

In the next step, the students draw a full-size cartoon on large, brown kraft paper, drawing all lines double to allow for the effect of leading. The space created by these double lines should be about 1" (2.54 cm) thick. It's a good idea to keep filling in the space between these double lines with a dark marker to avoid the confusion of too many lines. …