Silver stain is a unique pigment. When an oxide of silver is applied to glass and fired in a kiln the heat triggers a chemical reaction coaxing ions of silver to migrate into the glass. The result is that the glass is permanently stained a transparent yellow color. Although the origins of the technique are unclear its impact on the medium of stained glass was revolutionary. It enabled the glass artist to have two colors (clear & yellow) appear on a single piece of glass without having cut the areas out of separate pieces of glass and joining them with lead channel. This allowed the artist greater freedom of expression to create intricate color changes within small areas, producing new decorative effects. Although this technique is most often used to turn areas of clear glass yellow, it can also be used to obtain a green tone on blue glass. The technique was so widely used that the whole medium of “stained glass” obtained its name from the use of silver stain.
This comprehensive guide, richly illustrated with never before seen works by the author, should be of assistance to all artists seeking to master this temperamental technique.
Born in Camden, NJ, J. Kenneth Leap painted and exhibited watercolors in his teens before entering the Rhode Island School of Design. A trip to Germany sparked his interest in glass painting, a medieval technique that would form the basis for his future professional work. Now, more than 20 years after opening his studio, The Painted Window, J. Kenneth Leap is primarily recognized for his achievements in the field of architectural stained glass. His public artworks include: a skylight illustrating the history of NJ in the Annex of the NJ Statehouse; the chapel in the Masonic Home, Burlington, NJ; “The Atlantic Globe” for the lobby of Historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ; and major installations at the Veteran's Memorial Home in Vineland, NJ. In 1994 Leap was invited to relocate his studio, and become an artist-in-residence at the Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center, in Millville, NJ. He is also an artist-in-residence at the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, PA.