Tatiana Nikolova-Houston, Ph.D..jpg

Tatiana Nikolova-Houston, Ph.D.

"I was born in Bulgaria in 1961. My father, a self-taught artist and theater director, inspired my love of the arts. I studied Landscape Architecture and designed parks and spaces for recreation and meditation. In 1990, I came to America, married, and received Master’s degrees in Religious Studies and in Library and Information Science, studying and preserving South Slavic (Bulgarian) medieval manuscripts. My doctoral dissertation revealed the 'secret history' of the Balkans during Ottoman rule (1393-1878) by studying manuscript marginal notes.


In 2008, I started to re-create and re-interpret Byzantine and South Slavic iconography and manuscript illuminations, teaching Western audiences about the simple and meaningful illuminations created by Slavic scribes. I use the materials that they would have used: 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 inspirations.

Since 2009, my 'Sacred Illuminations' have participated in 78 juried and 34 solo exhibits, in the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Lebanon, and Bulgaria. Among those, the Antiochian Village Museum featured Sacred Illuminations in 2011 and 2017. In addition, I have participated in 120 art festivals and bazaars. My catalog currently includes more than 500 titles.

'In the image of the Tree of Life' (Ps.1:3) received Best of Theme Award at Wesley Art Contest, Houston, 2014, and Winner of the International Spiritual Art Awards, 2020. 'Transformed by Gratitude,' 'The Glory of Creation,' and 'Bridge over Troubled Water' received Best of Show awards from the Texas Visual Art Association. 'Tree of Life - Holy Spirit' has been published in Christian Century, L-Magazine, and Behold. Kamerkoor Kwintesens used my 'Tree of Life - Infinity' for its production of Arvo Part's Adam's Lament in the Hague, Netherlands, and recently was accepted for 'In the Image of the Tree of Life' for the upcoming production Lux. 'Tree of Life - Eyes and Hands' served as a book cover for Peter Traben Haas' Beautiful Prayer. My artwork has been published in liturgical calendars, books, and online journals, and used in sermons by different Christian denominations and institutions."