Legendary creative Julia Cameron once said that ‘Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and the attics and brings healing.’ For Artist Di Hanson, the statement couldn’t be more true.

After losing her sister Sue, a geologist, to a sudden brain aneurysm in 2007, Di found a collection of photographs of close-up minerals viewed under the microscope that Sue had taken before passing. The pictures were so beautiful that Di felt it necessary to show them to the world, despite not quite knowing the best way to display them. After initially displaying the photos on canvas and paper at various exhibitions over the years, the process of telling her sister’s story took an emotional toll and she decided to take a break for a while and study law.

“Sue knew that education was the key. So because I thought it would be something that would make her proud of me, I did a Master of Applied Law at UQ and my graduation day was again a really proud moment because I knew how pleased she would have been.”

After completing her degree, Di picked up the threads of her sister’s work with newfound vigour and began experimenting with different display formats – everything from mobile phone cases to timber and tile blocks. Eventually, she developed the process of transferring the images onto specialised photo paper and then applying the image to ceramic tiles and finishing them with resin. The resulting products were vibrant and polished – so good in fact that Di decided to show them to a few tile shops in Toowoomba.

Fast forward 10 years and Di is still creating. She transfers some other images to tiles for special requests but her focus is still primarily on her sister’s beautiful photographs and sharing them with the world.

“Even after 10 years of working with the images they still take my breath away and inspire me every day.”

On the topic of not having a background as an artist, Di remarked,

“Sue was fearless and really understood that you have to grab life with both hands and give everything a try. Everyday I try to be more like her by giving things a shot even if it scares me.”

When asked what the future holds, Di isn’t focused on personal gain or profit.

“I’d really like to use my artworks as a means of getting and keeping Sue’s beautiful images in front of other people. While I love working with other beautiful images on my tiles, my real passion lies with Sue’s photos and my interpretation of her images through my artwork. It keeps her close to me, I constantly find myself wondering how she would handle issues and problems that come up in the course of my work.”

Di lives in Toowoomba and holds local exhibitions of her work throughout the year. You can find her mineral tiles on her Etsy site along with a selection of larger pieces and custom furniture, or visit her website to view her full collection.


Banner image: Sue working at the lathe as a geologist

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