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Reflections from a Sun-Catcher

By       Message Tiffany Bellum       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/9/09

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The delicate cobalt-blue glass of the sun-catcher sparkled, reflecting tiny rays of blue light onto the floor. Inside the circular glass, a young mother tightly cradled her newborn baby. Only a bare thread of fishing line held the glass disc in place as it hung from the frame of the window. Luann Gilliland took the sun-catcher down from the window, sliding beads from the top of the fishing line to rest against the frame of the sun-catcher. One by one, she added blue glass beads and pearls to complement the beauty of the blue glass. "It was like a second part of my brain woke up," Gilliland says.

But the inspiration for her art pieces came from the simple act of turning one recycled disc, too beautiful to stand alone, into an elegant sun-catcher. Her talent emerged as she placed beads on the thin piece of fishing line, one by one. Instead of just the glass reflecting in the sun, the beads now added a swirl of light to the floor, accenting the cobalt glass where the young mother held her child closely. "I knew I was drawn to different things made of colorful glass but for me to actually create it, no, I didn't expect that. That was an unexpected pleasure," Gilliland says.

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The sun-catcher was the first beaded design Gilliland created over 10 years ago. But even before she discovered her beading talent, she found interest in her mother's art. "My mother was artistic, so I was always drawn to whatever project she was working on," says Gilliland. Her mother never created the art Gilliland makes with beads, but she produced other art projects that Gilliland found intriguing. "She never worked with beads, but she boiled marbles and made little pictures and sculptures. She dabbled in something called liquid embroidery which was a pre-cursor to fabric paints, and I helped her those projects," Gilliland remembers.

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Before Gilliland experienced her first epiphany with beading, her childhood dream was to work in the field of medicine. When she entered high school, she became aware of the field of medical laboratory technology. She graduated from the College of Steubenville, now known as Franciscan University, in 1974.

She currently works as a medical technologist in Geisinger's Chemistry Lab--but beading is her relaxation and inspiration. "When I'm beading, I'm inspired by the sheer beauty of the raw materials. Once I sit down at my bead table, it's hard for me to get back up." she says.

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Gilliland donates some of her designs to many organizations, including EOS Riding Center, Bloomsburg High School, St. Columba Church and several Bloomsburg University organizations. One of her first donations was with La Leche League. For 12 years, she volunteered her time as a local La Leche League leader, and also volunteered at both a state and national level. At one annual conference, she displayed her beadwork for the first time. "This opportunity gave me confidence that people loved my beaded designs and were willing to pay for them," Gilliland says.

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Tiffany Bellum is a Journalism major at Bloomsburg Univeristy who is hoping to work with a political magazine.

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Reflections from a Sun-Catcher