ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
Ted Goodden specializes in creating new stained glass panels for homes, public buildings and churches. Ted Goodden is never happier, however, than when he's giving old windows new life in his second career as a stained glass restorer. Unlike the creation of new stained glass windows, restoration work is virtually unnoticeable, since the aim is to make stained glass windows appear as if they had always been in a home. Restoring stained glass windows is straightforward and has little in common with the typical artistic concerns of design, colour and theme.

"All these equivocal artistic dimensions aren't there," says Ted Goodden, who is based in London, Ontario. "It's something of a relief for me just to work as a skilled mechanic and improve something.
You get immediate satisfaction out of putting something back together in better shape than you found it."

Considering London's rich history of stained glass, Ted Goodden isn't concerned about a lack of stained glass windows to restore. A large number of locally made stained glass windows still exist in homes throughout the city. Because stained glass was a widespread art that was popular in the 20th century, stained glass windows were installed in workmen's small cottages, as well as more expensive homes. Stained glass was also affordahle because designs were largely repetitive, and included a combination of geometric and floral motifs interwoven in strong, bright colours.
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
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Restoration at Clive Barnes's Residence
The accuracy of glass cutting was exceptional, particularly since craftsmen didn't have glass grinders, but did the work with pliers and glasscutters. "Just to take one apart and put it back together is to be impressed with that kind of craftsmanship," says Ted Goodden.
Under normal circumstances, stained glass windows have a lifespan of about a century before they need to be removed and releaded. Ted Goodden begins a restoration by taking a rubbing of the lead lines in a window, removing the lead and cleaning old putty off the glass.
If the glass is cracked, he tries to find an exact match and cuts the glass to fit the shape that's required. He then cuts new lead to the correct size, solders joints, and applies putty to seal the work and give it strength. The restoration is done in his studio and usually takes a week, depending on the size of the project. The cost of releading a stained glass window is similar to the cost of a new window. He charges about $500 to relead a typical transom with 150 pieces of stained glass.

John Rutledge, a Goderich, Ontario architect who specializes in residential restorations, says releading stained glass windows should be as much a part of a restoration as preserving other architectural elements. There seems to be a common tendency among homeowners, however, to leave their stained glass windows until the end of a residential restoration when there is little money remaining in the budget.

"It is stained glass that brings light and architecture together as one," Rutledge says. "It often comes down to a complete knowledge of everything that belonged to a particular style versus picking things (to be restored) ad hoc."

Ted Goodden became interested in stained glass after visiting the studio of Theo Lubbers, a Dutch stained glass artist, in Montreal. At the time, Ted Goodden was studying at McGill University and was well on his way to becoming a clinical psychologist. When an apprenticeship became available, he was forced to make a difficult career decision.
"I had to make a very clear choice at that point in my life," he recalls. "If I had stayed in the path of clinical psychology to the doctorate level, I'd probably be much better off materially than I am now. But, I think I'm much better off spiritually for the choice I made, just because I enjoy the work I'm doing so much."

Ted Goodden undertook a three-year apprenticeship with Lubbers, concentrating on restoration work, as well as new pieces. He then apprenticed for a year with Patrick Reyntiens, a stained glass artist in England. In 1979, Ted Goodden opened his own studio in the city where he was raised, London, Ontario.

Each year, Ted Goodden undertakes about a dozen stained glass restoration projects and the same number of repairs. He also designs pieces for new homes and specializes in creating stained glass transoms, sidelights, hallway windows and panels.

One interesting project involved the restoration of several leaded stained glass transoms in a home that was built in 1909 in north London. The modified Queen Anne-style home was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act because of its stained glass windows.

In the longer stained glass panels, the design takes the form of a spade, which is surrounded by a combination of frosted and clear glass. In the smaller transoms, the spade shape is compressed into a mushroom form - a flexible design motif typical of Victorian work.
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
Restoration at Dundas Centre United Church
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissionsted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
Residential Restorations
ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissions
    Restoration in progress

When the homeowner, Toni Swart, had a dining room addition built at the rear of the home in 1989, she commissioned Ted Goodden to create stained glass panes depicting the mushroom motif. He also designed stained glass panels for a door inside her front entry using the elongated version.

Swart says there was never any doubt in her mind that she would have her stained glass windows restored. "It was a major characteristic of the house. If you are interested in history at all, it's something that you preserve," she says.

With only six studios in London that do stained glass restoration work, Goodden says there aren't nearly enough experts available. He believes that those who are trained in the field should teach others. Since stained glass restoration isn't being taught in community colleges, there is no apprenticeship system, and it's not the kind of work that stained glass hobbyists can undertake.

Ted Goodden hopes that some day, others will perpetuate his work by restoring the stained glass windows he creates. "It's kind of an act of faith for the future if you're making stained glass for peoples' homes and someone, a century from now, will be releading it. It's kind of like paying your dues," he says.

(words by Judy Liebner. Originally published in Canadian Homes and Cottages Issue 3/2004)