11 Jan 2022

The art of stained glass windows with Teresa Ramakers

From Summer Times, 9:35 am on 11 January 2022

Teresa Ramakers is a leadlight artist living in the Manawatu. She mostly creates leadlight window commissions, but has created a wide range of items including large glass mosaic nudes, pal tiya sculptures, garden art and oil paintings.

Her studio specialises in repairing leadlight windows and doors, and designing and building new leadlights.

Phoenix Leadlights is located in Shannon, between Levin and Palmerston North.

A stained glass window at St Peter's Church, Onehunga.

A stained glass window at St Peter's Church, Onehunga. Photo: Facebook / St Peter's Onehunga

She designs, manufactures and installs stain glass leadlight windows into villas, she tells Jesse Mulligan..

She learned her trade from a retired Scottish glass specialist, which was a long process, she says, culminating in being able to produce stained glass – painting on the glass and the heating it in the kiln, as well as various other tricks of the trade.

“I just design a window, then the customer approves it and then I install it," she says.

Ramaker can trade all around the country, getting a local glazier to measure up the glass panels so she can then have the glass cut accurately and get to work on the finished product.

Old villa doors fitted with lead glass look particularly good, Ramaker says.

Much of her work is insurance cover, replacing antique windows broken in old villas.

“A lot of the glass is vintage, so that can be a little bit difficult replacing it. Some went out of production back in the 1920s. You can still buy new coloured glass, but you may not be able to get the perfect match.”

Being an introvert, Ramaker says time alone in the studio listening to the radio while she works suits her.

Her trade is exacting and can involve very intricate detail.

“You have to be really accurate in your cutting of the glass, otherwise it won’t go together very well,” she says.

“The process is quite detailed and it’s fun. From the beginning I design it and that’s the most exciting part, because there’s so many different styles that you can do, like art nouveau, art deco, stain glass, bevel clusters… and they look amazing in the villas.”

Taking out a terrible section of glass and replacing it with a work of art was one of the most satisfying aspects of her job.

Phoenix Leadlights studio is located 11 Buckley Rd, Shannon and you can find more information here.