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Case Study: Trinity Episcopal Church

Client: Trinity Episcopal Church
Location: Galveston, Texas, United States
Glass Installation Date: March 2010
Cost: $467,912

About The Client
As in many Episcopal churches, Trinity Episcopal Church has an eclectic collection of stained glass artistry. Numerous stained glass studios are represented. The most well known is the Tiffany Studios of New York. Another well known American studio is the Jacoby Studios of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Project Overview
When Hurricane Ike struck in 2008, Willet Hauser was already working on a restoration program at Trinity Episcopal Church. The hurricane was so strong that it blew out and nearly destroyed an entire panel ("Panel W") from the church's Tiffany window known as "Christ and the Children".

Upon inspection in the studio, "Panel W" consisted almost entirely of broken glass; only a few glass had survived intact. The broken glasses were then sorted into groups according to color and texture.

Using hundreds of photos taken prior to the storm and rubbings from a similarly themed Tiffany window at a church in Ohio, Willet Hauser craftsmen began restoring the badly damaged Tiffany window. The rubbings were placed on a light table and the broken painted and drapery glasses were then put into their proper positions and taped together to form the original glass shape. Some of these taped glasses consisted of 20 to 100 small broken fragments.

Fortunately, all of the original painted glasses on the front layer of "Panel W" were able to be edge-glued or copper foiled and utilized, thus retaining the original painting by the original Tiffany artist. Also, some of the molded drapery glass was retained. It is our estimation that between 30 and 40 percent of the original glass on the front layer of "Panel W" was conserved and retained. The rest was replaced with new glasses. The replacement glasses were patterned upon the taped remnants to be as close as possible in color, transparency, and texture.

Most of the glasses from the other 4 layers of "Panel W" were replaced. The interior layers contained blue and green flashed glasses that had been acid etched in order to control light and color. These too were replaced. Willet Hauser craftsmen had to replicate the acid etching on new blue and green flashed glasses using the original taped pieces as a guide. This was a very delicate process.

When completed, the invoices for labor and materials pertaining to "Panel W" totaled $21,667. This was well under the estimated range of $25,000 to $40,000 that was given to Trinity Episcopal's insurance company.

The restoration project involved the hard work of 8 craftspeople, 2 road crews, and several office staff. It took about a year and a half to complete the project.

Client Feedback
"Seldom are we so lucky to have contracted work completed, as promised, in all respects, as your company did with our windows. We salute your workmanship!"

- Carl Schutz, Building Committee Chairman

See more pictures of the Trinity Episcopal Church windows.

News: Tiffany Window Broken by Ike Restored