The row of icons below will take you to seven windows residing in Temple Tifereth Israel synagogue, Columbus, Ohio. Each architectural glass window has an excerpt describing it's symbolic content from a magazine article below it.
Click on the left icon to be taken to the first window in this series. If you want to read the entire article, keep clicking on each image until you are brought to this page, once again with the opening of the article.
The Holy One blessed be He is Light. The exquisite beauty, color, and light, fine Jewish Architectural Glass imbues within a sanctuary, reminds us of the two greatest commandments:
"Shema, O' Yisrael, YHWH Eloheynu, YHWH Ehod. You are to love YHWH, your Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, and with all your being." The second like the first: "Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. I am the Lord....."
Every single one of these beautifully elegant works of art in glass make use of a broad range of materials, from the artful application of varied lead widths to different kinds of textured glass. You will notice the absence of saturated color in these panels. That doesn't mean we are limited to a neutral palette. On the contrary, we have access to a virtually limitless range of colors, as seen above, all mouth-blown in the US and imported from England, France, and Germany. In addition to the mouth blown glass, we sometimes use machine-made glass for special effects.
The various types of glass used in the works pictured here are reamy, seedy (which includes a dense amount of bubbles creating a frosted effect to almost no bubbles and anything in-between), English Streaky, crystal clear antique, drawn antique, ribbed glass and beveled glass. The ribbed, drawn and beveled glass is all machine made. All other "styles" of glass that we use are mouth blown antique.
The reamy glass lends itself beautifully to an organic style of design. The artistic manner in which it is made, in a way, quite naturally merges with the flowing lead lines within the organic design styles pictured above. Reamy glass is made by a process called flashing in which two or more layers of glass are added one on another during the blowing and working of the cylinder. Reamy has many characteristics which are unique in every sheet. It has wonderful, smooth flowing rippling waves of texture throughout and almost every sheet has a range of gorgeous bubbles from large balloon shapes to tiny irregularly positioned "seeds" and everything in-between.
Antique mouth-blown glass is created by melting raw materials such as quartz sand, soda ash, and lime in a furnace. As opposed to window glass which has a very faint greenish tint, glass processed in this manner is perfectly clear. When the glass has been heated into a liquid it is allowed to cool to working heat. One method of making mouth-blown antique is to use a rod having a block of carbon fixed on the end of it and introducing it into the molten mass which causes it to boil and stir up. After two or three minutes the block is withdrawn, and the mass of glass is materially changed. It is now filled with bubbles, seeds, striations, etc. These are "made imperfections" which really give the glass its unique character.
Reamy antique, while still partially molten is "gathered" on the end of a pontil or (blowpipe) through which it is blown into a cylinder. Once the molten glass is being blown the craftsman moves the forming cylinder over various surfaces such as nails and spikes protruding out of wooden lathes to enhance the striations which have already begun to be formed. After the cylinder has been satisfactorily worked it is placed in a kiln and it goes through a process called annealing, which is the controlled cooling of the already partially cooled cylinder. During this process, the ends of the cylinder are cut off and the cylinder is split down the middle and flattened while still in a malleable state.
The almost limitless variety in colors of glass are produced by various metals, generally in the form of oxides mixed in the glass batch and melted with it. Some of these include Gold, Silver, Iron, Manganese, Cobalt, Copper, Chromium, Selenium, Cadmium and even Uranium, etc. Only one organic substance is used for this purpose. That is black carbon, which, strangely enough, makes a golden yellow color but unfortunately darkens during the firing process when the glass is painted and needs to be reheated for the paint to become a permanent part of the glass.
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