Glass becomes work of art in Mae Dillon's hands

Mae Dillon started working with stained glass more than 20 years ago and she has the hands to prove it. While many people use brushes to paint glass, Dillon prefers a more challenging method.

Her short fingernails and rugged hands are the result of years of working with glass cutters, saws and sanders to create beautiful pieces of art.

Prior to working with glass, Dillon dabbled in acrylic, macramèônd clay. When she was in high school, she served as the cartoonist for the school newspaper.

"But glass is my thing," she said. "I tried stained glass and I fell in love forever more."

The Ocean Springs Art Association artist's stained glass exhibit, "Birds, Butterflies and More," will be on display at The Art House Jan. 28 to Feb. 28. There will be an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 28, during Free to Be ... Fourth Friday Gallery Walk.

Dillon's subjects are dictated by the glass. A month can pass before she figures out what some pieces of glass should become.

"Glass is fluid and it tells you a story," she said. "I see ocean waves, a tree or a blossom. The glass tells you what to do. I don't pick the subject -- it just happens."

The size of the piece can be deceiving, Dillon said. Smaller pieces aren't necessarily quicker to make, because they can be more intricate than larger pieces.

A large butterfly with black and yellow swirls hangs in the window of The Art House. However, a smaller, more intricate pink butterfly took the same length of time to create, Dillon said.

Dillon, who loves to create scenes of animals, recently made a large piece for a family of their pet dog. It took a long time to find just the right color to match the dog's fur, she said.

"Perfect Pet" depicts a red fish swimming in a watery blue fish bowl.

"He really is the perfect pet," she said. "You don't have to wash him or feed him."

"Charlotte's Web" is a bright scene of two orange blossoms with green leaves in a web-shaped background.

"Van Gogh in Glass," reminiscent of the painter's "Starry Night," is a swirl of pink and green surrounded by a frame of emerald green.

Also featured in Dillon's exhibit are Mardi Gras masks, hearts, seashells, unicorns, sea turtles, roses and red hats.

Dillon attended a Red Hat Society luncheon and was fascinated by the ladies' unique red hats with purple accessories. She decided to make her own stained glass red hats -- no two of which are the same -- to sell at The Art House.

600450 Glass becomes work of art in Mae Dillon's hands

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