“Color and light are the strongest elicitors of beauty.”

I love how I met artist and lighting designer, Jill Mulholland. I had gone to a Temazcal or Mexican sweatlodge in Albuquerque. The woman running it just happened to be talking about a woman she knew who had done some research on how mirrors were used by “avisadores” to communicate with light signals across long distances. Having been working on Mirror Spiritus for several weeks prior, my little ears perked up. I begged for an introduction.

Jill was very accommodating and willing to meet with me not knowing if I was some kind of crazy person or not. She invited me to her home and without even having to explain what I was up to, she told me all about herself and her work. She had so many interesting things to share about mirrors and light. I was enthralled.

Then she showed me her Light Confetti. I was immediately taken back to a scene from the movie, Pollyanna, when the children discover “rainbow makers” or chandelier crystals at the house of the grumpy old man. Only Jill’s Light Confetti was about 10x more enchanting than any crystal light show I’ve seen. This art was casting a sun-lit constellation of stars all over her room! It was breathtakingly beautiful.

I downloaded a copy of Jill’s dissertation, Light Celebrating Place, West Texas Road Trip, and started reading it. It isn’t as dry as one might expect. Instead, it is a poetic and inspiring work that details her fascination with light, shadow, reflection, glow and color; reading about it fascinates the reader in turn…at least it did me. It’s right up the Mirror Spiritus alley, so to speak.

She writes:

“For me, reflections let me enter that place inside myself where it is quiet and non-verbal.”

She also talks about the depth of information contained in a shadow and that while reflection “bounces off”, glow “passes through”. Without knowing anything about mirror meditation, Jill has somehow managed to describe what it is, how it works, and what can be achieved through its practice!

I have two of these delightful, glistening pieces in my home now. I definitely want more!!! I hope to add some more photos of Light Confetti soon, so stay tuned.

Jill Mulholland received a B.A. in Maya Archaeology from Rutgers College, worked as an archaeologist in Belize, and as a contract archaeologist in California, Montana, Oregon and New Jersey. She learned light as a three-dimensional art form in the theater and received a Masters in Interior Architecture from the University of Oregon. Jill practiced as an architectural lighting designer in San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Princeton. She received a PhD. in Architecture from Texas A&M University, where she taught design studios in the Architecture and Visualization Departments. Her dissertation, Light Celebrating Place, resulted in four works of light art, one of which was temporarily installed in Big Bend National Park. This installation brought her work full circle back to the archaeology of the Mesoamerica and the Southwest.

Jill was the recipient of the Baker Chair, a position of merit that brings distinguished faculty to the University of Oregon in 2011. Later in 2011 she was a visiting professor at the University of Oklahoma. Currently she coordinates an all-volunteer non-profit board for the International Association of Lighting Designers that furthers architectural lighting education. Jill recently moved to Albuquerque to start a light art studio.