The inspiration for "Shelter "comes from Diane's interaction with the students and faculty of Olympia Regional Learning Academy located in Olympia, WA. The committee wanted artwork that reflects the diversity and unique character of the non-traditional school. Diane was drawn to a comparison of the communal structure of a beehive as a way to artistically represent the academy. A beehive houses a community which works both individually and collectively. Bees gather pollen and nectar which they take back to the hive and create honey. The honey produced is used to subsist on later. In much the same way, the students gather information about their world as they go through the educational system at the school. They learn how to work with themselves and others. Each has an independent approach to their learning, an individual experience like no other.
Photo credit, Terry Richel
"Shelter” was designed to be collaborative with the students and faculty in design, execution and interaction. Diane asked the students to think of themselves as bees and think about what they add to the honey in their hive. The students supplied images and comments informed by this question. The resulting drawings and text were encapsulated into fused glass shapes on top of the pavilion structure.
Over 200 images of the student's artworks were scanned by Diane, who recreated them as silkscreen glass enamel decals. The decals were then patterned and fused between layers of glass to create the "honey cells." The glass color selection was based on the local pollen colors as bees produce different types of colored honey depending on the time of year and available pollen sources.
Aluminum, glass, enamel, 17' diameter, 13' height. The pavilion-like construction also functions as a gathering space. The glass filters the light and casts colorful shadows.
Original concept drawing
Students and faculty were invited to Diane’s studio to participate in learning how to fuse and cut the glass cells.
During installation Diane worked with a group of community volunteers to “putty” or place the glass into the aluminum cells.
This public art project is part of WA state’s art collection and was commissioned by the Olympia School District in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places program.
An individual drop of kindness starts a ripple of generosity which supports a community. This donor appreciation project was commissioned by MultiCare for Mary Bridge and Tacoma General Hospitals in Tacoma, WA as a way to recognize the people and organizations who helped support Multicare's expansion. Diane wanted to create a calming, reflective piece and chose to design an Illuminated artwork made of fused glass panels backlit with LED lighting, reminiscent of Japanese screens. The project included two donor walls, room naming signage and museum signage. Diane served as the lead artist and project manager along side contributing artist Jennifer Weddermann.
View of interior Mary Bridge Hospital waiting room, 6’ x 18’ x 10” Glass, steel, LEDs
Detail of back lit panel and steel, prior to donor level diameters installation
Work in process shot of attaching donor panels. Laminated and sandblasted ripples are invisibly mounted to safety glass.
Donor diameter detail, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital
Tacoma General Hospital breezeway donor wall and signage, 6’ x 18’ x 10” Glass, steel, LEDs
Donor diameter detail, Tacoma General Hospital
Campaign signage and donor level key diameters adjacent to artwork located at both Tacoma General Hospital and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital
Example of "Museum Signage."
These were for entire wings or large communal room naming opportunities for the donors. The signage indicated the donor’s historical relationship or connection with the naming opportunity.
Example of one of the 100 donor specific room naming plaques
“Allure”was inspired by many conversations with the vibrant community of South Park, who describe their neighborhood as a “small town within a big city.”
The sculpture is a beacon for the area of South Park, inviting visitors to come and enjoy the business district’s offerings. “Allure”welcomes everyone to the diversity of South Park, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. This artwork was commissioned by King County in partnership with the Seattle Office of Economic Development and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture King County, Dow Constantine, Executive.
The depiction of the angler fish embodies the community’s scrappy spirit, in its references to a variety of cultures and layers of history: from the farming culture that started this neighborhood and is now embodied in Marra Farms, to the current industries that continue to employ many of the population here, to those who still fish in the river.
“Allure” is fabricated from ornamental iron and sheet metal laser cut with integrated motifs including many designed by South Park community members, symbolic of the rich history and cultural diversity of the area. The open iron filigree is covered with a brilliant metallic gold glaze. In this photo, Diane leads install crew on the siting of the artwork.
“Allure’s” functional lantern was fabricated from reclaimed lighting from the old South Park Bridge. “Allure” stands as an invitation to South Park, beckoning visitors to come and enjoy the business district's offerings. The lantern is illuminated with an integrated commercial solar floodlight, which creates a friendly and safe environment per Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) guidelines.
The Eastside of Tacoma has a vibrant and colorful history that continues to be written, and the pride of the community members always shines through. Convex mirrors reflect the activity levels within the community center, and the changing weather is reflected from outside, creating a passively kinetic experience.
During outreach meetings words like ‘’diverse, multi-ethnic, vibrant community,” were used to describe the area and its residents. This feedback helped inspire Diane’s concept to create a piece that mirrors the beauty of the community back to themselves. “Reflections” the Imagine Eastside Donor Recognition Project was commissioned by Greater Metro Parks Foundation for the Eastside Community Center, located in an underrepresented neighborhood of Tacoma, WA. The scope of the project also included mentoring two Eastside emerging artists, Adika Bell and Gerardo Peña, about the public art process.
Convex mirrors, glass, stainless, composite, paint. 18’ x 12’ x 9”
The wall is flanked by windows which reflect the moving sky and surrounding wetlands.
Convex mirrors, 40” diameter x 4”, 36” x 4” diameter
Installation of "Reflections”
5th Avenue Theatre Excellence Award
Diane was commissioned by The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA to design their Excellence Award. The 5th Avenue Theatre Excellence Award celebrates individuals whose impact extends beyond the Theatre walls and into the community. She decided that the piece needed to be instantly recognizable and convey something of great value. The award is 14” x 12” x 3”, cast in glass and adorned with 24K gold. It was influenced by the ornate interior of the Theatre. One of the most memorable and magical aspects of The 5th Avenue Theatre is its interior, which transports you before the performance and sets the stage for a fantastical experience. The theater’s interior was modeled after three of Imperial China’s most spectacular architectural achievements; Forbidden City, the Temple of Heavenly Peace, and the Summer Palace. This iconic style has become synonymous with Seattle’s finest theatre.
The 5th Avenue Theatre Excellence Award also drew inspiration from the Chinese bi-disc and the highly prized materials the discs were made from. These ancient discs were ceremonial items and served as an important symbol of rank. They indicated an individual of moral quality/ i.e. excellence. A bi is a type of circular ancient Chinese jade artifact. The most important bi-discs are made of white jade (nephrite), and used for the creation of ceremonial objects.
Artist's Concept Sketch of Award
Artist’s Clay Original
Inner and outer molds for glass casting
Detail of cast glass
Pastor Ron Pierre Vignec was a beloved proponent of the City of Tacoma, Washington’s vibrant Eastside. He made it his life’s mission to bring visibility and inspire change for the neighborhood. Diane Hansen’s “Pay Attention” highlights this culturally diverse community and its numerous assets for which Pastor Ron tirelessly advocated.
Diane and her team drew inspiration for the artwork in “Pay Attention” from the pastor’s favorite sayings, inspirational words and phrases and showcased them in a playful and celebratory way. Words such as “community”, “dream”, and “inspire” were sandblasted into ¼” edge-lit glass with LED lights that sequence and rotate colors. The text is superimposed over a semi-transparent image of Pastor Ron Vignec which was sandblasted into the glass and is edge lit with contrasting sequencing light. These two features combine to create his message of positivity and visibility, which was the pastor's goal for the Eastside neighborhood.
Glass, Aluminum, and LED lighting, 30"x 40". Shown below is the alternating color sequence of the artwork.
Diane Hansen served as lead artist on this memorial piece for Tacoma, Washington’s Eastside Community Center. “Pay Attention” was commissioned by the Greater Metro Parks Foundation for the Imagine Eastside Donor Recognition Project which funded the Eastside Community Center.
Diane mentored a team of emerging Eastside artists on the public art process, which included Adika Bell and Gerardo Peña as well as other contributing artists, Dion Thomas and Lauren Vignec.
Installation day. Pictured here left to right Gerardo Peña, Nancy Vignec and Diane Hansen
Sea Branches and Pearls
Bay Terrace is a community housing development located in Tacoma, WA. The Tacoma Housing Authority commissioned Diane Hansen along with fellow artist Jennifer Weddermann to create an exterior art piece entitled "Sea Branches and Pearls."
The inspiration for this project comes from the nearby ocean shoreline. Rusted metal forms, reminiscent of undulating kelp, flow around the cement foundation to create movement and visual interest. Vibrant red sections embedded with cast glass pearls beckon community members to explore the organic sculpture. As future vegetation develops, climbing English Ivy will intertwine within the piece, marrying the undersea with the world above.
Photo credit: Terry Rishel
Lock On Tacoma
Part of Sound Transit Start permanent art collection, this interactive sculpture invites public participation by encouraging visitors to attach memento padlocks on metal mesh-wrapped concrete columns.
The installation is located near a Sound Transit stop, where most pedestrians are focused solely on reaching their destination. “Lock-On Tacoma” turns up the visual volume, inviting passersby to pause in their busy days, examine the locks left there by others, and add their own love locks, thus expanding the piece in the most personal of ways.
Enlarged steel padlock and skeleton key sculptures, painted in auto enamel, encircle the top portion of the rail support. Hansen worked with youth from Hilltop Artists to cast glass ornaments she incorporated into the locks. Hansen wrapped the columns in metal mesh to create a screen where visitors can attach their own love locks. The project required full ADA accessibility. Diane chose to seek inclusion of all audiences by not only making it accessible, but by creating a piece that inspired conversation for all types of visitors.
Detail of heart lock and 253 key. Cast Aluminum faceplates, steel frames, glass rivets, metal-flake auto enamel. Fabrication: Jennifer Weddermann. Paint: Ray Kirkoff.
Diane’s inspiration for this work came from two places: the Paris ‘Love Locks’ movement and the natural affinity Tacomans have for their city. The goal was to create an art installation as a destination—one that begs city dwellers and visitors to seek out the location and interact with it. “I wanted to create more than a sculpture,” explains Diane. “I wanted to create an experience that caused people to get off the train and explore the Dome District and Tacoma.
Circling through the air like a whirly-gig, “Gyrocarpus Americanus” (commonly known as the Helicopter Tree) seed pods whimsically embellish Mercy Housing Northwest. Rusted steel and hand blown glass pods move across the surface of the building as if blown by seasonal winds.
Mercy Housing Northwest is situated in the area known as New Tacoma. It is an anchoring community building, bringing residents and vibrancy to downtown Tacoma. Like seeds blown in from the wind, taking root on the hillside, Mercy Housing and New Tacoma have revitalize this key area.
While walking the site of the Mercy Housing Northwest project with Alisa Luber, Senior Project Developer, meeting residents and staff, and taking in the surrounding location, current art and plantings, the concept of growth really struck Diane and her art design partner Jennifer Weddermann.
The artwork is comprised of a total of 6 seed pods, each fabricated out of glass and rusted steel. There are two different seed pod designs. One is made with hand-blown glass seeds with bases wrapped in 24K gold leaf and nestled in chartreuse green painted forged steel organic shapes. The other is formed from fused and slumped glass pod skins held in place by ornate rusted steel leaves. Pod dimensions are 9' H x (up to) 36" wide x 16" deep
This Apatosaurus public art sculpture was commissioned by Swansons Nursery, the oldest nursery in Seattle, WA. “Humphrey” is a visual anchor for the store. Diane designed him to have a curious look as he peers around his surroundings, attracting visitors to interact with him.
photo credit Aimee Damman, Swansons Nursery
The sculpture is made of cold-rolled steel and lined with chicken wire. It took a team of over 10 individuals to bring the dinosaur to life. In designing and constructing Humphrey, Diane paid careful attention to his musculoskeletal composition as the moss was overlaid on his spine and body.
Once metal fabrication began, Humphrey’s construction process took 4 weeks. He enjoyed all of the attention he received on his journey down I-5 to Swansons nursery.
Humphery is covered in over 67,858.39 linear inches of moss. The Apatosaurus sculpture weighs approximately 1500 lbs and is 10' H x 8' W x L 21' L from nose to tail.
photo credit Aimee Damman, Swansons Nursery
The structure is filled with over two hundred hand-blown glass floats, created by Diane Hansen and Lesli Jacobs-McHugh. “I love the symbolism that comes with glass floats,” says Diane. “Even though they are made of a seemingly fragile material, they often survive the toughest of journeys, crossing entire oceans without breaking.”
View from ceiling.
This temporary public art piece was designed to bring attention to the Prairie Line Trail project on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. The installation featured a mesh construction banner spanning a sky bridge. An image of Abraham Lincoln shows the president’s eyes looking down at the trail.
Day and evening photos of art placement on the exterior walkway of UW campus Tacoma, WA, intersecting the Prairie Line Trail. Project was completed during PA:ID program and was conceived by team members Diane Hansen, Ed Kroupa, and Jeremy Gregory. Photo includes a temporary art installation by ThoughtBarn Design Team (Lucy Begg and Robert Gay).
“Lincoln originally signed the charter to connect the east and west coast via railroad,” explains Diane. “The Prairie Line Trail takes that original charter and re-envisions it, turning an abandoned rail bed that was part of the transcontinental route and turning it into a walking trail.” Without showing judgment, the piece positions Lincoln as looking down at the contemporary outcome of his legacy. It leaves it up to the viewer to imagine what the president may have thought.
The concept behind this piece demanded a strict level of commitment. The work is based specifically on a 1947 product and is exquisitely detailed, even including the LSMFT mark on the bottom of the pack (“Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco).
This piece highlights Hansen’s ability to use a simple object to create a nuanced, layered conversation. The sculpture creates a permanent piece from an ephemeral object and touches a wide variety of triggers for the viewer, depending on how they may have interacted with the subject in their own lives. “It pays homage to what we like to think of as an innocent time,” explains Diane, “but on closer examination, the times may have not been so innocent.”
The pack is constructed of steel painted with auto enamel. The cigarettes are hand-blown glass. But even with the more rigid concept, Diane found the experience to be revelatory. “Like most pieces, this one developed while I was making it. It kind of revealed itself. I start with a concept, but each piece takes on a life of its own and surprises me along the way.“