Ethical guidance for the responsible care of American stained glass
Liberty Stained Glass Conservation is a private consultancy that provides caretakers of stained and leaded glass windows with accurate and ethical condition reporting, treatment plans, and job oversight. Liberty has been providing advice and managing projects for religious, commercial and residential clients since 2016.
Brianne completed her undergraduate History of Art BA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, with a minor in History. She then traveled to York, UK to complete her MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York, the only English-speaking institution in the world to offer such a program. During her time in England, she worked as part of one of Britain's oldest stained glass firms, the York Glaziers Trust. There, she had the privilege to work as part of a team conserving York Minster's Great East Window (1405-1408). After finishing her MA and returning to the United States, she worked for Northeast Stained Glass as a stained glass professional on notable projects such as the restoration of the windows at St Thomas Episcopal, New York.
Brianne Kozlowski, Principal
MISSION & PHILOSOPHY
Liberty exists to ensure the responsible and ethical treatment of American stained glass windows for our generation and those to come. We advocate for the responsible care of the object and evaluate stained glass as its own art form within a building. We recognize that each environment, building and window is unique, and Liberty treats each project as such.
Our conservation philosophy is one that adheres to both international guidelines and American historic preservation standards; to conserve existing material with minimum intervention. We believe the inherent value in stained glass comes from the methods, style and craftsmanship of its makers. In other words, the value lies in its originality and unnecessary treatments and restorations diminish that value. When prescribing treatment, it is reversible.
Liberty is solely a consultancy and is not affiliated with any private studio. The ethical opinion provided by Liberty regarding the condition of the glass and how to best move forward is without consideration to additional financial gain resulting from studio labor.
STAINED GLASS IN AMERICA
Although stained glass was born in Europe, America has its own rich history and heritage for the craft. It was American innovation that enabled the production of plate glass for skyscrapers as well as the creativity of studios like Tiffany, La Farge, and Connick. Stained glass in America exists in various colors and patterns in windows, doors, and ceilings from the earliest geometric windows to the bold Art Nouveau. Our proud stained glass heritage is rich and if we appropriately look after it now, it will one day rival the age of our European examples.
REASONS FOR RESTORATION
Stained glass often needs repair, restoration, preservation, or conservation for a variety of reasons with the most common reason being out of necessity: a window is leaking, has been broken, is no longer operable, etc. Also, windows may need to be relocated within a building, or sometimes old windows are even discovered above drop-ceilings. Finally, because stained glass commonly exists in historic buildings with their own set of issues, a building restoration effort may ensue that encompasses the glass. This can mean that the care of the stained glass is incorporated within the general restoration strategy for the building, and does not address the specific needs of the glass.
A STAINED GLASS BACKGROUND
EXAMINATION, ASSESSMENT AND CONDITION REPORTING
Liberty is available to examine your windows. LSGC provides comprehensive Condition Reports on single or multiple windows. Our condition surveys present research about your windows/building/history illustrating the artistic, architectural, social, spiritual and historic significance of the windows. This Statement of Significance can be used for grant or funding applications.
Liberty looks at each aspect of the windows including the size and setting of the window (frame, bars, vents), the condition of the glass, came and decoration (vitreous paint, enamel, stain) and protective glazing. Our surveys also consider the surrounding environment. We do not only record the existing condition but keep in mind factors that may be responsible for its condition. We consider the environment of the building as well as the individual window. No two situations are the same, even within a single building. Any results revealing a need for urgent action are highlighted.
SCOPES & SPECIFICATIONS
Liberty provides written conservation proposals and construction specifications. All recommendations adhere to international ethics guidelines.
Liberty provides project management services including managing contractors to ensure quality and adherence to specifications, and document management. Liberty is hands-on and attends construction meetings and client meetings regularly.
MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE
Often times stained glass windows are stable. In order to ensure their continued stability, we design monitoring and maintenance programs. These are non-interventive programs that allow you to keep track of your windows over time and identify issues before they become overwhelming and expensive. Elements can include a full set of dated photographs to help monitor change, disaster planning, and advice to caretakers and custodians. Liberty offers advice for environmental monitoring when appropriate.
LSGC provides high-quality photography for documentation purposes as well as for your personal use.
Liberty Stained Glass Conservation offers several services to ensure a long future for your stained glass. We also appreciate the inevitable financial concerns of buildings most in need of our services, and are willing to work with your budget.
COMPLETED AND ON-GOING PROJECTS
ICOM-CC CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI
2013 ICOM-CC Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi: Recent Advances in Glass, Stained Glass and Ceramics Conservation (International conference, Amsterdam).
APTI Conference: Stained Glass Symposium. Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC.
WRITING & CONFERENCES
Liberty Stained Glass Consulting stays current with both domestic and international conservation through membership in professional organizations, attending conferences and reading relevant publications.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Partners for Sacred Places
American Glass Guild
Stained Glass Association of America
Institute of Conservation
Freehold Boro Historic Preservation Commission
Have a particular problem with your windows? Are they cracked, dirty or leaking? Are you interested in finding out more about the history of your windows? Contact us and we will help you get back on track and make appropriate decisions for your heritage.