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Released October 1, 2003


LONG BEACH, Miss. - Tim Buckner, an alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi and owner of Frames and Panes in downtown Hattiesburg, has decided to give something back to his alma mater.

His gift is in the form of a stained-glass window he designed and placed in the reception house at the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

"I did the work pro-bono as a thank you to the university for the education and the good times I had at Southern Miss," said Buckner of Hattiesburg.

The window is a replica of the Friendship Oak located on The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus. The window is approximately 14 inches by 55 inches and has 177 separate pieces of cut glass. The background is done entirely in gold and the tree is black with textured glass to differentiate the leaves and limbs from the trunk of the tree. "The pieces have a silhouette appeal, which was a new technique I hadn't used before," said Buckner.

Buckner said that his biggest challenge was the amount of space he had available for the window. He said that designing a rendition of a 500-year-old live oak tree into a 14-inch-by-55-inch space was not easy.

Buckner used a technique called foreshortening to give the tree its three-dimensional effect. "There is a great deal of detail involved in achieving a three-dimensional look, with a one-dimensional medium using only black glass as a focal point," he said. He said he was thrilled with the outcome and plans to use this technique in the future.

"We thank the artist for creating and giving us this beautiful stained-glass rendering of the famous 'Friendship Oak' that adorns our Gulf Park campus," said Dr. Shelby Thames, president of The University of Southern Mississippi. "The 'Friendship Oak' signifies a proud history on the Gulf Coast with an even stronger future."

Located at the Gulf Park campus, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Friendship Oak is a 500-plus year old oak tree. The tree is loved by former students of Gulf Park College, revered by tree lovers, held in fond memory by those whose wedding ceremonies were conducted on the platform within its long branches, and viewed by daily tourists.

Designing a replica such as the Friendship Oak comes naturally to Buckner. He has had a great deal of experience working with glass and furniture. His grandfathers on both sides were craftsmen. His mother's father designed and built furniture for yachts. His father's father designed furniture and built steeples for churches. Both built their own homes.

Buckner has lived in Mississippi for 13 years. His family moved to Brandon when he was a sophomore in high school. He graduated from high school in 1990 and moved to Hattiesburg in 1993.

He worked his way through college by working at a local custom picture-framing shop. He graduated from Southern Miss in 1998 with a degree in psychology.

After graduation, Buckner saved enough money to fly to New Zealand, where he lived for six months working on a diary farm and traveling.

When he returned to the states, he began working at Sweet Water Studio.

At Sweet Water, the owner focused on ecclesiastical work for Baptist and Methodist churches and it was here where he learned the art of staining glass. After two years at Sweet Water, Buckner and his wife, Holly, moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for an upscale studio in Elliot City, Md.

Buckner said that he combines the skills he learned at the two studios into his work at his own business in downtown Hattiesburg.

Buckner and his wife, who earned her undergraduate and master's degrees from Southern Miss and is now the coordinator for international programs at Southern Miss, have a great respect for the university.

The Buckners are expecting a son in January. Buckner said, "We have made Southern Miss our home and hope our son will be a future Golden Eagle."



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October 8, 2003 3:01 PM