Contemporary jeweller Tanja von Behrens, from Tasmania, makes her debut appearance at FASHFEST 2015.
For Tanja, who grew up in an incredibly creative household in Canberra, where the arts have always been celebrated and treasured, jewellery is a never-ending fascination. This talented jeweller began making pieces as a hobby while studying at the University of Sydney. When she left university in 2005, Tanja worked for two years as a guide for Tourism in Central Australia. She returned to study jewellery making in Tasmania, finishing her diploma in 2011.
Jewellery is a creative design practice and process of discovery for Tanja. Her love of collaborating with artists from other disciplines is apparent through her participation in many types of arts projects. At FASHFEST, Tanja will collaborate with several fashion designers launching collections on the catwalk.
Wherever possible, Tanja uses 100 per cent recycled sterling silver, copper and brass to create her works, and occasionally stones and found or re-interpreted materials. She manufactures by hand as much as possible, although sees the benefits of creating original designs from scratch and then moulding them for reproduction. Tanja also creates occasional bespoke commission and exhibition pieces.
A major theme of Tanja’s early collections and commissions is ‘place’ and notions of ‘home’. She maintains a strong connection to Canberra, despite having moved for work and study often and not living here for 14 years. Indeed, Canberra remains ‘home’ to Tanja.
Today, Tanja shares a studio at the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart.
Being based in Tasmania has its challenges for jewellers given that the state does not have a precious metal supplier or local casting company. Tanja orders the sterling silver she uses, as often as possible, from manufacturers in Australia. When required, she has small batches of casting done by a Melbourne-based company. She then handcrafts and finishes her work in her Salamanca Arts Centre studio.