Piedmont Community Church appointed James Kellogg as Project Manager for the Church Sanctuary stained glass window conservation.  The project included restoration of the church’s original 1922 stained glass windows and conservation of 12 stained glass windows installed in 1975 by James Hubbell, a noted California stained glass designer.

PCC Sanctuary & James Hubbell Window

Sanctuary, Psalm 23 and James Hubbell windows

After substantial research and consultation with stained glass experts, it was found that the 12 James Hubbell windows, which were designed as large single panels to emphasize light transparency and color, were beginning to bow out of plumb and lead cames were showing deterioration. And the original Psalm 23 Window, located at the center point of the Church Narthex, was found to have significant degradation of the structural support grid as well as stained glass beginning to dislodge from loose lead cames.  From these findings, all concurred that the James Hubbell windows were in need of conservation, and the Psalm Window was in need of immediate and complete restoration.

The next step was to select the best stained glass expert with experience at large scale conservation projects. James selected Hyland Studios, and worked with them to plan the project and overviewed the work which was accomplished over an 8 month period to minimize impact on the Sanctuary while the work was done.

Psalm Window - Original

Original Psalm 23 window

The most important challenge was to strategize how to restore the large 6’ x 8’ multiple panel Psalm 23 Window.  A detailed analysis confirmed that the structural steel angle grid could be restored and all glass panels needed to be completely re-leaded. It was agreed the blue-green stained glass pieces in the perimeter decorative band was not damaged, and the excellent design were well worth careful conservation.  And it was found that the Psalm text panels were originally constructed with 2 layer flashed glass with hand-crafted lettering sandblasted through the flashed layer onto translucent white background glass. The original Psalm lettering was old English calligraphy style with text rows of unequal size and in many places words divided by the reinforcing cames.  And it was found that some of the existing text panels were cracked and not repairable, and over the past years several had been replaced with laminated plastic panels to replicate the originals, which added a checker board range of uneven color and transparency to the overall window. 

Hyland Studios confirmed the perimeter decorative band could be conserved, and noted that when the Church was originally built, the flashed glass used for the Psalm text panels was accomplished by expert stained glass craftsmen, and today it is no longer commonly available. In fact, two layer blue-white flashed glass would need to be custom made and imported from Germany.  All agreed that the Psalm text panels should be replaced, the original method of sandblasting flashed glass would not be practical, and the preferred method would be hand painted lettering, replicating the original calligraphy style, and permanently fired onto new white translucent glass. And a scaled design with text layout and character spacing coordinated with each glass panel size and location of reinforcing cames would be necessary.

Psalm Window Design (FINAL)

James took on the role of designing the replacement Psalm 23 Window text panels. The first task was to select a TrueType font that replicated the original hand crafted calligraphy look, and then develop a process to develop an accurate scalable layout that Hyland Studio could reproduce into hand painted lettering on the new glass panels.  After searching for the best font style, “Kingthings Petrock” was selected as the basis for the project, which replicated the traditional calligraphy look and was horizontally compressed to enable the text to fit within the available size of the glass panels. From “Kingthings”, some characters were modified to create a custom font that more closely replicated the original lettering.  And PowerPoint was utilized to construct an accurate in-scale dimensioned layout of the overall window and each glass panel to determine the text line and character spacing. Character spacing and kerning was then carefully adjusted for each word to create the best overall balance, readability, and minimize overlap of wording with the structural grid and reinforcing cames.

PCC Psalm Window Work

Mock-up panel, and work underway

Hyland Studio partnered with Dimitrie Art Studio to test the hand-painted lettering and text colors on a mock-up glass panel.  Next, all panels were removed from the Sanctuary and relocated to the Hyland Studio for the conservation work. 

Stained Glass Template (2)

And James completed the design by developing in PowerPoint full size layout templates for each panel, from which Dimitrie Art Studio utilized a light table to trace the text onto the glass panels, modify with the custom font style characters, then hand paint the final text and permanently fire the text onto each glass panel.

Psalm Window_Final_2018.04.01

Fully restored Psalm 23 window

The finished product created a stunning large scale Great Psalm 23 Window that washes the entire Sanctuary with light, and has become a permanent positive addition to the Church.

James Kellogg, Principal

Kellogg Concepts