Artist 'paints' with panes of glass

Stained glass hangings sparkle and glow in the featured exhibit room at the Ocean Springs Art House where Mae Dillon's work demonstrates the possibilities of "painting" with colored panes of hand-cut glass.

The exhibit, called "Birds, Butterflies and More," will be up until Feb. 24.Lines and ripples and colors combine to give depth and motion to Dillon's glasswork.Muscle structure, for example, is as much a part of an animal as its shape and color, she said. To get that, you'd need something like a ripple to show the structure.

"You would need a glass that's both the right shape and right color," Dillon said, "that expresses with the lines that are in it or the texture that is in it that there is something there besides just plain skin, that there's something under it."

She hand cuts her glass. A tool called a Taurus saw that she got for Christmas, she said, "opens up a whole new world in stained glass because you can cut in any direction. You can make jigsaw puzzles if you want."

While about 25 large artworks priced from $70 to $1,000 - mostly under $200 - hang on the walls, smaller ones grouped around the window include a series of Red Hat designs, dragonflies, a frog, flowers, shells and a parrot.

Dillon has seen people actually knock on the glass to make sure it's glass, she said, speculating that they're comparing it to a process called glass overlay which "is not the same thing. It doesn't have quite the sheen to it. It's just not real glass. My glass is not an overlay. Some is opaque and some cathedral. You can see through cathedral. Opaque blocks more light."

Stained glass has been Dillon's medium for 20 years. Before that, she painted in oils and acrylics, but said she much prefers the vibrant colors and sparkle of glass.

"It just seems to talk to me," she said. A scrapbook in the exhibit room shows some of her custom designs and commission work, ranging from a 5-foot glass panel to kitchen cabinet doors with a continuous theme.

Most of Dillon's works are intended to be hung in windows, she said, "so they can enjoy it both inside and outside the house."

Exhibit hangings named "Yellow Butterfly" ($135) and the larger, almost 3-foot "Lovely Butterfly" ($200) in blues and greens use upward curving lines to depict the creatures in motion.

There is a Mardi Gras mask ($80) that morphs into vibrant purple, green and gold when lighted from behind.

A framed pink rose called "Lotus Blossom" ($85) is in a dark frame intended to sit against the wall, rather than in front of a window.

The graceful and vividly colored "Fascinating Lady" at $1,000 is the most expensive, but also required the most work.

"If she doesn't sell," Dillon said, "that's fine. I'll just take her home and put her back in her little niche."

600450 Artist 'paints' with panes of glass
Date: 7 February 2005

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