Years of weather damage to a stained glass window at a church in Boissevain prompted the church board to hire someone to do repairs.
A large window in the south side of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was in need of repair and Prairie Studio Glass of Winnipeg was selected to remove the windows, do repairs and reinstall the stained glass.
Owner Matthew McMillan says he get a lot of work in rural parts of the province. “We were selected to come out and have a look at the windows at St. Joseph’s Church and upon inspection we noticed the large choir loft window wasn’t in total disrepair but was on its way there. Unfortunately it has been exposed to the elements because there wasn’t any glass protecting the stained glass for the past 30 years or so.”
“That expedited the deterioration of the structure of the window and we came out and determined that on site. We made a second trip out to remove the window and we’re now replacing key component in the window.”
McMillan is replacing a putty that is used to construct the window. It was a weather proofing measure back in the day. “Unfortunately for St. Josephs the putty has all but fallen out of place due to the exposure to the elements.”
The window when reinstalled will look much the same.
“We’re not doing any major reconstruction. We are replacing some broken pieces of glass. Some pieces broke due to the window basically collapsing on itself. That resulted in about a dozen pieces being broken. More importantly we are replacing the cement component that’s between the glass and the lead” said McMillan.
The project started in early August and Matthew McMillan hopes to reinstall the glass by mid to late September.
He got a pleasant surprise when he walking through the interior of the church to inspect the large piece in the choir loft. McMillan notice another smaller piece of stained glass. “For me it was kind of the special cherry on top for this project. I notice it out of the corner of my eye. I wasn’t asked to look at this window but I couldn’t help but notice it.”
“I notice this beautiful small window, It was kind of unassuming because there was no strong light source for the window. upon inspection i noticed it was made by a very prevalent stained glass studio, fifth generation and still in business called Mayer Glass Studios out of Munich Germany. It was a real treat to see it in person.
McMillan said the original installation that took place in the 1960’s wasn't done properly and that window was also deteriorating and some of the glass pieces were breaking.
“Every piece of glass has been hand painted and fired in a kiln. Each piece would have been fired in the kiln to add layers and layers of detail about five or six times. Its highly detailed and it’s labour intensive art work that has become damaged over the years.”
Plans are to fix the installation problems and try to reproduce the original glass as close to the original as possible.