BY JACLYN ROSE –
Diane Emerson, originally from Dallas, Texas used to visit Polk County as a tourist and enjoyed the unique events the area has to offer. Around 17 years ago she met, Randoph Emerson, a Mena native, at a graveside funeral of a mutual friend. They began dating and Diane was thrilled to discover Randoph was from Mena. The couple now married for 13 years, love the home they have built in Polk County. “When it comes to our marriage we operate on a common theme from years of Bible study: in all actions, godliness is our objective.” Together they have four children and nine grandchildren.
Emerson holds an Associate of Arts from Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas and worked for 32 years, before retiring, for Southwestern Bell, which is now AT&T. “I used to draw and paint and always enjoyed it, then in 1976, a friend of mine began learning how to do stained glass from an old, old man and it looked interesting so I was taught also. I love working with my hands,” explained Emerson.
The art of stained glass is an intricate process by which the artist begins by drawing out the design. Emerson hand draws her pattern and makes several copies. She then takes the individual pieces of the pattern and, using extreme care, cuts the colored glass to fit. She then grinds the edges and leads them together to form breathtaking art. The process requires extreme preciseness and many hours, but the results are gorgeous.
Emerson has taught the art of stained glass since 1980 at professional glass shows in New Mexico, Texas and Nevada, and has some interest in teaching a local class. She will also design and create custom stained glass for individuals and businesses locally through her company, DEDI Designs. Any party interested in either obtaining their own piece of Emerson’s work, or in learning the art can contact her at 479-243-0080.
In the fall of 2013, Emerson created and donated a beautiful window to the First Baptist Church of Mena Prayer Room. According to Emerson, “the piece was totally inspired. It came to me on the way to the hospital; it is a dove sending prayers up to heaven.” The large and intricate piece, took her around 150 hours to complete and has much symbolism. Each of the colors holds a special meaning: red, for royalty and the blood of Christ, dark blue for divine works, pale blue for peace and serenity, gold for power and glory, green for faith and white for innocence and purity. The olive branch also represents peace and the dove, the Holy Spirit. She also donated a praying hands piece to First Baptist Mena for the entrance to the prayer room and a beautiful cross that can be seen at the chapel of Mena Regional Health Systems. “Stained glass is my love and passion,” said Emerson.
When not working on her art, Emerson also enjoys working in the outdoors, “I could spend all day playing in the dirt and then feel great. I love gardening and mowing,” Emerson said. “She has her own lawnmower and I am not allowed to mow, I am only permitted to wash it for her when she’s done,” said her husband, Randoph, with a laugh. “We love Polk County,” said Emerson, “we love how remote and beautiful it is and we love the people and the heritage.”