Elana Castle uncovers the cultural and historical symbolism behind Trent Jansen’s latest design for Broached Commissions Colonial collection.
June 5th, 2012
Working under the banner of Broached Commissions, Trent Jansen has just completed the 5th and final edition of his Briggs Family Tea Service.
“Broached Commissions is dedicated to exploring different eras of Australian history through design,” explains Jansen, a founding design member of the initiative.
“The Briggs service explores a particularly turbulent period in Tasmanian colonial history.”
The set – a teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug and 3 cups – represent a family unit that was defined by the era.
“The tea-pot and sugar bowl represent George Briggs, a British settler, and his wife, Woretermoeteyenner of the Pairrebeenne people.”
Jansen’s contrasting use of materials represent the coming together of 2 disparate cultures and aesthetics into one design.
“The refined porcelain forms and organic, gnarly body and handle portray the cultural collision of Briggs’ British heritage with the rugged, islander-style existence he led,” Jansen explains.
The Woretermoeteyenner sugar bowl is the combination of the elegant form of a Pairrebeenne kelp water vessel with elements derived from French and British porcelain-work of the era.
The milk jug represents the eldest daughter – the fur and porcelain symbolising characteristics of both parents – and the 3 tea cups, the younger 3 children.
The subtlety and rich historic references buried in the materiality and form of the pieces are products of Jansen’s cerebral and narrative style.
“I surround myself with a lot of research,” Jansen says.
“It makes for a slow process, but the stories are a crucial part of the design. We live in a unique place and our history is important. It shapes who we are.”
Photography: Scottie Cameron
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