Award winning designer Marilyn Tan, is making her mark, yet again with the launch of her new Ethiopia Collections. While fans of her work have been able to look forward to new collections and additions every season, her latest collections may just be some of her edgiest and most unique yet.
Known for her insatiable wanderlust, Marilyn’s love of travel took her nearly 7000km away to the country of Ethiopia on the horn of Africa. Typically thought of in terms of a third world country with a dry desert climate, quite the contrary can also be said to be true. Having read about the Unesco sites such as the famous churches in Lalibela carved out of stone/rocks from top down, and remembering the horrifying famine pictures in the ’80’s, Marilyn was eager to learn more.
“When the opportunity came up I wanted to explore how the country had survived. It must have done something right, because it’s not only a very ancient civilization but the only country in Africa that has never been colonized.” says Marilyn when asked about why Ethiopia was on her travel list.
Without much expectation she set out to absorb the local sites, visiting the countryside, local markets, and various churches, taking in the stark contrasts the country presented her.
“The country is fascinating: proud, poor but strong. Once pillaged by Europeans, the Italians came to live as it was an Italian protectorate after the war: they left a legacy of great coffee culture, tiramisu & pasta. They are hopeful for a good future, as we all are.”
While visiting the renowned National Museum of Ethiopia, she was struck by inspiration after viewing the archived collections of “brand ID marks”. Intrigued by this cultural marking technique, the Ethiopia ID Collections were born.
As each original brand ID mark is unique to its creator, so too is each set in the series. The other collections include the Sunset Collection, The Lalibela Crosses, The Ball Cross Collection, The Timkat Festival Collection, and The Church Door Chain Collection. Seemingly taking a bit of character from each of the different places Marilyn visited along the way. You can see her own interpretations of the geometric shapes in the stained glass windows of the monolithic churches, the turrets of an old palace, the ancient carvings in stone, and even the floral motif heralding the surrounding forests.
The contemporary designs of these new collections, keep in tune with Marilyn’s usual level of sophistication while also mirroring the diversity and vibrancy of Ethiopia. The collections include earrings, necklaces, and rings, and combine elegant shapes and distinctive matte metal finishes to enhance the simple yet eye catching designs.
“New Collections follow my Brand Definition: A Marilyn Tan piece tells the story of a journey, of paths less travelled. It speaks to the pleasures of discovery, the joy in the unexpected — just because.” Marilyn Tan
About Marilyn Tan:
Marilyn Tan has been designing jewellery for over 20 years. Starting off creating hand finished one of kind pieces under the label Marilyn Tan Jewellery, her passion for design soon prompted her to branch out with a diffusion line, MTJ. Working with various metals such as White, Yellow and Rose Gold, .925 Silver, Bronze, and Brass, and a variety of crystals, gems, and stones, allows her to create pieces with both sophistication and an edginess you won’t find anywhere else. Marilyn Tan Jewellery collections are available worldwide and a full list can be found at www.marilyntanjewellery.com.sg/