Proudly Introducing Our Painted Glass Artist and Stained Glass Conservation Specialist

Scottish Stained Glass is honored to introduce our painted glass artist and stained glass conservation specialist, Maria Sheets. Her comprehensive training and educational background include a Masters in the Humanities from the University of Texas, Dallas and a Professional Associates degree from the American Institute for Conservation. Maria has trained with industry-leading conservation and glass experts through her ten years at various stained glass apprenticeships. With extensive experience as both owner and chief conservator of an art conservation firm that’s served museums, galleries, and private collections throughout the nation, Maria brings a wealth of knowledge and specialty technique to the Scottish team. Her incredible art skills range from kiln-fired glass pigment to fine art oil painting.

The Importance of Conservation and the Ethical Approach to Stained Glass Restoration

Maria’s passion for conservation was sparked when she worked with an art museum who had sustained significant damage with an accidental fire. When working through the stained glass restoration at the museum, Maria realized that she could paint the damaged painted glass better. After this revelation, Maria committed to glass painting classes and pursued her Professional Associates degree from the American Institute for Conservation. She holds a high standard for proper conservation and taking the ethical approach when restoring stained glass and other mediums of art. By prioritizing these standards, Maria is able to truly honor the original artist and their intentions.

The Painted Glass Process for Commissioned Art

Her comprehensive painting background and specialized painted glass technique have created incredible, one-of-a-kind art for many of our clients nationwide. Maria begins to custom painted glass process with a lot of research. She also utilizes live models in order to truly capture proper form and composition. These models are often clad in costume wardrobe in order to really seize life-like fabric flow and shadowing.

One of her favorite painted glass projects is the Santa Marta Saints. This Scottish project was completed for a private chapel in Olathe, Kansas that commissioned three custom stained glass windows with handpainted St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John XXIII. The design process took approximately six to eight weeks through constant communication between Maria and the Santa Marta community. Each religious painted glass project requires comprehensive research of similar paintings through history as well as a background in iconography. Her hand-sketched initial designs had to also be approved by the clergy. Maria uses Photoshop and extensive references in order to incorporate every single detail in her intended painted glass design.

Painted glass incorporates numerous layers in order to define depth and shadowing– the glass has to be carefully transferred to the kiln to bake after each completed layer. These details were imperative to Maria since the three saints are contemporary figures that people recognize and have seen. This was probably the greatest challenge for her but Maria was humbled by the great honor to be given this responsibility. Once the three painted glass masterpieces were completed, it took our nationwide team a total of eight months to complete and install this project. Maria appreciates the team setting and all they were able to accomplish together.

Restoration Challenges and Concerns

As a conservation specialist, Maria believes that authenticity is the biggest concern in her field. It can be difficult to truly authenticate a piece of art. Another challenging aspect is ensuring the ethical approach is taken. Often times when a piece of art or glass is restored, there will be parts left blank. Especially in the context of writing and quotes, it is crucial to have prior images in order to attempt to replicate. Expert opinions are needed in order to avoid ethical implications and taking the guesswork out of proper conservation. If critical components are missing and there aren’t original photos available, these sections are left blank but will honor the original aesthetic and ensure structural integrity.

The Most Enjoyable Part of Stained Glass Restoration

It can be a very tedious process when it comes to matching colors for restoring painted glass. When Maria is finally able to match a color dead-on, this is the most enjoyable part of the process for her. Honoring the artistic intent of the creator is the most joyous part of conservation. When it all comes together after the lead came has been structured around all glass components, Maria is always delighted with the final product and how stunning it is when all painted pieces are joined together. The colors pop and the cohesive efforts of the Scottish team are displayed when the stained glass is re-installed after restoration.

Work with the Nation’s Industry-Leading Stained Glass Restoration Team

Scottish Stained Glass is honored to be the nation’s industry-leading stained glass restoration team. We’re humbled to have talented members that specialize in conservation, helping aid our mission and passion for properly preserving stained glass. Working together has created an outstanding learning process for all of us on our continued journey to restoring historical and sentimental pieces of art throughout our community. We look forward to experiencing more incredible talent from our renowned team and can’t wait to see what all we can accomplish together.

Whether you’re looking to restore your church’s antique stained glass windows or you’d like to commission your own custom painted glass, we’ve got you covered. Work with our painted glass and custom stained glass specialists to achieve lifelong, impactful pieces of art. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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