The Historical Context of princeHerman’s Copper and Glass Technique


princeHerman’s first class in Stained Glass techniques was in Junior High School. He clicked with the medium and began going to shows and researching the history of the medium.

The technique he uses most was developed by John LaFarge and Louis Comfort Tiffany, and is known either as the copper foil technique or the Tiffany Method.

When it was getting developed, obviously the materials we use today were not available; they needed to be invented. Louis Comfort had a number of ateliers, all of which were critically successful and financial failures. He had teams, primarily made up of women, who did the physical and toxic labor constructing his designs.

Tiffany Workshop 

Tiffany Workshop
A typical woman worker with Louis Comfort Tiffany


To create his windows and lampshades with intricate detail he had to develop an alternative to the medieval technique known as lead came. That technique cut relatively crude large shapes of glass, either colored or clear which were then literally stained by a process of painting and baking. the glass was then set into channels of lead and ‘mudded’ into place. The glass was less refined and thus difficult to modulate and the lead channels required larger sections of glass with heavier seams. And the glass could only be set on a single plane.

His big development was to wrap each piece of glass in a thin strip of copper which could then be soldered together with lead. This enabled thinner seams and setting of the glass in three dimensions. He was able to create painterly affects with just glass emulating natural forms and depth.

Tiffany Lamp 

Wisteria Lamp
Wisteria Lamp from Tiffany Studios


princeHerman wanted to honor this innovation by deconstructing the elements by using sheet copper as a larger visual element and reemphasizing the seam by making it more sculptural. As his constructions have continued the have continued to evolve by trying to utilize the additional and new material benefits that are afforded by changing the ratio of metal to glass. The pieces can go from being light control to being illuminated and transparent structure like walls and doors. 

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