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Tatiana Nikolova-Houston

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Tatiana Nikolova-Houston


Information: Tatiana Nikolova-Houston, creator of "illuminations" and dance description translator.

Tatiana Nikolova-Houston Tree of Life, Eyes and Hands Tatiana Nikolova was born in Bulgaria in 1961. Her father, a self-taught artist and theatre director, inspired her love of the arts. She studied Landscape Architecture and designed parks rich in color, flowers, and spaces for recreation and meditation. In 1990, Tatiana came to America, married Ron Houston, and received a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and Library and Information Science, studying and preserving South Slavic (Bulgarian) medieval manuscripts. Her doctoral study revealed "the secret history" of the Balkans during the Ottoman rule (1393 to 1878) by studying manuscript marginal notes.

After graduation in 2008, she started to re-create and re-interpret Byzantine and South Slavic iconography and manuscript illuminations, and to educate Western audiences about the simple and meaningful illuminations of Slavic scribes by using gold and metallic inks and acrylic paints, embellished by Swarovski crystals. The illuminations reflect the joy of spirituality, emphasizing the themes of the Light within and without and the Tree of Life as major inspiration.

Since 2009, "Sacred Illuminations" participated in more than fifty juried shows, including more than twenty juried solo gallery exhibits, and forty-five festivals, bazaars, and fairs, in Texas, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Holland, and Bulgaria. "Tree of Life – Holy Spirit" has been published in Christian Century, L-Magazine, and Behold. Kamerkoor Kwintesens used her "Tree of Life – Infinity" for its production of Arvo Part's Adam Lament in the Hague, Holland. "Tree of Life – Eyes and Hands" (see photo at right above) served as a book cover for Peter Traben Haas' Beautiful Prayer. The catalog includes more than 300 titles.

Tatiana translates dance descriptions from Bulgarian to English for her husbnand, Ron Houston.


  1. 2002-2008 – Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science), The University of Texas atAustin, School of Information. Outstanding Dissertation Award nomination.
  2. 1998-2001 – М.L.I.S. (Master of Library and Information Science), The University of Texas atAustin, Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
  3. 1996-2000 – M.S. (Master of Science in Biblical and Related Studies), Abilene ChristianUniversity, Abilene, Texas.
  4. 1992-1995 – B.S. (Bachelor of Science in Biblical and Related Studies), Institute for ChristianStudies, Austin, Texas.
  5. 1980-1985 – M.S.L.A. and B.S. (Master of Science in Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Science), Institute of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria.


  1. 2006 – Summer Research Lab in Digital Humanities, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  2. 2001 – Medieval Slavic Summer Institute (certificate), Hilandar Research Library, Ohio State University.
  3. 1999 – Digital Preservation of Medieval Manuscripts (certification), Sofia, Bulgaria.




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