Diane studied Venetian style glassblowing with Lino Tagliapietra, an Italian maestro considered by many to be the best in the world. This experience led her to begin experimenting with Venetian goblet glassblowing techniques. She worked to apply these techniques to large sculptural forms.
The Samba pieces feature organic shapes, including pears, persimmons and pumpkins. Each shape was specifically chosen for its sensual, feminine profile.
The work also includes 24-karat gold and sterling silver finishes. “Metal is a common thread for me,” says Diane. “It may come from being raised Roman Catholic. Important pieces were always gold or silver. I believe that viewers of my work have similar touch points. The finishes increase the perceived importance and create a nice juxtaposition with the sensuality.
Juxtaposition also occurs in the structure of the Samba pieces. The ornate middle section is framed by intentionally simple sections above and below.
“I like the sport of glassblowing as much as the art of glassblowing,” says Diane. “There is a challenge to it. There is risk. Things can go wrong. Everything needs to happen together and everyone needs to work as a team.”
This challenging aspect of glassblowing is fully evident in Hansen’s Venus series, a series of large vases featuring the image of Botticelli’s Venus. The image is first silkscreened onto decal paper, then transferred onto glass using a grall technique. The glass is then reheated to 1100 degrees and finally, using an incalmo process, it is sandwiched between additional glass layers.
Hansen was drawn to this combination of technicality and classical forms, and chose Venus because of that. “She is the classic symbol of beauty and this iteration is so well balanced. As an image, it was a joy to work with.”
Diane comments, “I love challenging projects. Sweat engages me. I like a project that requires my total focus and close attention to thermal boundaries.”
The Torchiere series exemplifies Diane Hansen’s experiential intentions with her work. The pieces are designed to mimic medieval wall torches, complete with flames on top, in the form of leaves. Diane made the flames removable. They work as a stopper, with the intention that the viewer could write thoughts, prayers, wishes or worries on a slip of paper and place the paper inside the vase. The flames then symbolize the burning of those thoughts, sending them outward.
The pieces are dimensional, but still designed for walls. Diane comments,“I thought that a long narrow piece would be a lovely shape to explore."
Traditional Eperegne piereces were designed to serve fruit and cheese. The trumpet shape at the top served to display floral arrangements. Diane’s take on the pieces are not specifically designed for function, but to recall a different time in the world, where such decadent displays were more expected, even if they were never commonplace.
The Eperegne series recalls Hansen’s evolution away from Venetian goblet glass. The pieces showcase stacking elements of ornamental work. “I am not offended if people use these functionally,” comments Diane. “My primary desire with all my work is the people interact with it. I encourage that.”