New Braunfels business has been making stained glass windows sparkle for years

Whitworth Stained Glass creates, refurbishes colorful windowpanes

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – With the precision of a surgeon, Sophia Lind gets lost in her work, which involves placing pieces of colored glass into what amounts to a giant artistic jigsaw puzzle.

She was one of two staff members inside the workshop at Whitworth Stained Glass one recent morning, painstakingly trying to restore the original beauty of a large church window.

Sophia Lind works to painstakingly put pieces of colored glass back together. (KSAT 12 News)

Repairing, restoring and replacing stained glass all are part of the New Braunfels business’ specialty.

“We do churches. We do residential front doors, side lights, transoms, skylights, cabinet panels,” said Jack Whitworth, who founded the business.

The former military man first dabbled in the field as a hobby, then it became a passion.

After later stints in the corporate world, Whitworth decided to make it a career.

Jack Whitworth opened Whitworth Stained Glass in New Braunfels about 15 years ago. However, he has been working in the craft for more than 50 years. (KSAT 12 News)

“It progressed all the way to becoming an accredited member of the Stained Glass Association of America,” he said. “We design and fabricate new windows, as well as we take existing windows that may be well over 100 years old and we restore them.”

Doing the job is no easy feat. Depending on the size of the window, it sometimes can take weeks or months to complete it.

One of the biggest jobs the company has taken on in recent years is the restoration of more than two dozen windows at Center Point United Methodist Church.

Restoring stained glass first requires Whitworth and his crew to remove the windows, which sometimes are cemented in place.

Each panel of glass has to be separated from the others and from the fragile strips of lead that hold them all together.

This stained glass image of an angel hangs in the entryway to the shop. (KSAT 12 News)

“We also soak it to get all the decades of grime and grit and paint,” Whitworth said.

Often, they will find they have to replace some pieces of glass that have broken, or repaint others.

Once they have all the pieces ready and repaired, the staff has to fit it all together again with a frame.

“Some of the puzzles are very crude and you use all of your skills in trying to improvise and get the window back together,” Whitworth said.

If all goes as planned, their handiwork will serve as artwork that others can enjoy for decades to come.

Whitworth's shop also includes a showroom of pieces he has completed. (KSAT 12 News)

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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