Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 24 Autumn 2010 Contents 100 INSITE AUTUMN
the glass. e lead does have flexibility, so it
doesn't push against the glass and cause it to
crack," explains Bree, "but you still want to
make the repair as sturdy as possible."
e suburbs surrounding her West Perth
workshop -- such as Mount Hawthorn,
Mount Lawley, Leederville and Highgate --
are full of Federation and Art Deco houses
featuring characteristic leadlights. Many of
these homes are modestly sized and, today,
are rental properties. ey tend to be subject
to more careless damage than owner-
occupied homes, so leadlights are at risk.
If damage does occur, some landlords may
not bother to maintain them, as leadlight
restoration is expensive.
is is a great shame when you consider
those leadlights were all handmade and
many were one-offs, designed and crafted
by talented artisans. However, luckily, many
people do appreciate not just the beauty of
their leadlights, but also the heritage value.
Matching glass during the repair process
can be complicated. Take the example of
a window with four identical blue-glass
squares in the centre, only one of which is
broken. If Bree can't obtain the same glass,
she replaces all four pieces in order to retain
the design's integrity. e three unbroken
squares then go into her glass stock for
"We've got a stock of antique glass
that's built up over the years, and I believe
it's important to use this rather than
reproduction glass when matching an
original," says Bree.
However, repairing is only half her
work. She also makes new pieces and
enjoys contemporary residential work.
Commissions are always an exciting
prospect and Bree benefits from having an
expert to discuss them with -- her mother
Tracey, who designed the black swan
windows in Parliament House.
Another aspect of the job involves home
renovations and extensions. "People either
want panels to match existing ones or they
ask me to produce a contemporary twist
that complements the style in the more
traditional rooms," she explains.
While born and bred into the leadlight
business, Bree is not one to sit back and
enjoy the ride. She recently attended a
conservators' conference in New York
as a member of the Architectural Glass
Design Australia guild. While there,
she went behind the scenes at the city's
Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the work
of leadlighting luminaries Louis Comfort
Tiffany and Frank Lloyd Wright. Also on
this trip, she mingled with international
delegates who had worked on stained glass
dating from the 14th century.
Australia has a much shorter leadlight
tradition, but Bree still relishes the thought
that she is contributing to the salvage of
heritage items at home. "It's also satisfying
to think in years to come, if my own work is
still out there, maybe someone like me will
be asked to restore it," she smiles.
It could even be a family member who
repairs her pieces. Her uncle Rob's nine-
year-old daughter, Paityn, often joins her
when she's drawing, and Bree is sure she
will follow into the family business. Yes, it
seems likely that the Mainstone name will
be shining brightly in leadlights for many
years to come. I
West Perth Glass and Leadlights (08) 9328 7114,
GLASS WORKS: (left) Bree rebuilding an antique leadlight
door panel and (inset) a cartoon, which is used to guide repairs.
(below) A door surround repaired by Bree. Something this size
takes between two and three weeks of painstaking work.
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