THE POWER OF AN AMAZING RING. 戒指的魔力。
A while back I saw an amazing ring on a website. It was gold, bold, big and at the same time extremely chic. I could totally see myself wearing it attending parties, drinking coffee with my girlfriends and going grocery shopping at the local market. Oh well. Who knows me well is aware that the third scenario is pretty unlikely to happen as I don’t really hang out at markets, but… sometime you just need that extra bit of motivation to do the things you are not really into. And I simply thought that ring would do the trick.
Anyways, back to the ring. As it turns out, it’s part of Singapore-based jewellery designer Marilyn Tan’s Bronze Light Collection. The first email I sent when Giorgio gave me tickets to Singapore as our 15th anniversary gift was to Marylin’s studio – there was no way I would visit Singapore and not pay a visit to the designer [www.marilyntanjewellery.com.sg] who created such a beauty.
言归正传回到戒指上。这原来是新加坡珠宝设计师Marilyn Tan的Bronze Light系列的作品之一。当Giorgio把去新加坡的机票送给我作为我们15周年纪念的礼物时，我马上给Marylin的工作室发了封邮件 – 我去新加坡怎么能不去拜访创造出如此美物的设计师[www.marilyntanjewellery.com.sg]。
They got back right away, and I had the opportunity to sit down with Marilyn and her amazing cat and chat about her story and here creations.
Have you always been passionate about jewellery design?
Let’s say I’ve always enjoyed fashion and jewellery since I was a kid. But growing up it was clear that I would be the first woman in my family to attend university, and this made my parents so proud of me. I just went and did what everyone was expecting from me, and I became a lawyer. I practised family law for quite a while, even moved to Australia for work. I had my children quite late, and I decided that I would be their primary care giver. I didn’t want to miss their first words or steps just because I was too busy. Most of the people in my parents’ and my generation fought so long and hard for women to be able to go out and work, so it was not an easy choice. And I still needed to keep busy – I took a part time course in a design school in Singapore and I started designing jewellery. It was just a hobby – only later it became a job.
这样说吧，从孩子起，我就喜欢时尚和珠宝。随着我逐渐长大，我成了家里第一位读大学的女性，这让我的父母非常自豪。如每个人期许的一样，我读完大学后成为了一名律师。我主攻婚姻家庭法，甚至还为了工作搬去澳大利亚。当我要宝宝时，已算大龄产妇，我决定全职照顾宝宝的起居。因为我不想因为工作太忙而错过他们说出的第一句话或者迈出的第一步。对我父母及我自己这代人来讲，女性能够走出家门并独立工作这个权利来之不易，所以辞职做全职妈妈对我来说不是个容易的决定。但我仍然保持忙碌 – 我在新加坡的设计学院兼职读书，并开始设计珠宝。开始这只是我的兴趣 – 但后来它变成了我的工作。
Where is your label now?
Ah! It’s gone such a long way! After focusing on Europe for a while, we are now looking at the US – women there seem to be more free and less label-conscious. Moreover, the market is just so much bigger than anywhere else in the world, and it gives me many more options to meet people and to take part in interesting projects. I am already selling at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art shop, which I never even considered. This is to say that at this point of time I really need to be selective and, given my production volume is relatively low, I need to focus.
啊！这说来话长！之前我们把精力都集中在欧洲，现在我们更关注美国 – 那里的女性更自由，而且对名牌不是特别感冒。况且，那里的市场比世界上任何其它地方都大，这给我更多机会去认识朋友和接触有趣的项目。我的作品已经开始在芝加哥现代美术馆的商店里出售，这是我从未想过的。这也说明，目前来看，我真的需要有所选择，我的产量相对较低，所以我需要有针对性。
What does your team look like right now?
It’s still a very small team. It’s two of us and then we normally have at least a couple of interns to help us with daily stuff. But I’ve just read somewhere that it’s good for the team to have an animal in the office – apparently it’s easier for people to just switch off a bit if things get too stressful. This is why an amazing kitten is also part of the team at the moment – he spends all day with us in the studio and we all play with him when we need a break. It’s actually therapeutic.
目前还是个很小的团队。只有我们两个人，还有至少两个实习生帮助我们处理日常事务。但是我最近刚读了篇文章，里面说办公室里养只动物对团队有好处 – 显然当人们压力太大时，动物可以使人放松。所以这也是这只猫咪作为我们团队一部分的原因 – 他每天都在工作室里陪伴我们，当我们需要放松时就和他玩耍。这真的很治愈呢。
What makes a good buyer for you?
I like getting feedback, positive or negative, I just like it. Buyers should be very knowledgeable and they should have a very strong relationship with retailers and customers. For me it’s even more important that they share what they know, that they guide me towards a better product, more suitable and more ‘right’. There is a fine line between the buyer being supportive and honest, and them being arrogant and pretentious. It’s in the balance that talented buyers prove themselves.
What does a woman looking for a bespoke ring, or earrings, look for?
I love working on special projects – you establish such a close relationship with clients. For almost all my bespoke clients it actually starts off with a stone – they want my help to make it something unique to commemorate some special event or anniversary. There was a client once and he wanted to have the receipt of something from his first date made into a pedant. It was a nice thought, and I was happy to work on this project. It actually made me realize there are quite a few romantic young men out there.
我爱极了这些特制的项目 – 你跟客户之间会建立起非常亲密的关系。几乎所有我的定制客户的出发点都非常简单 – 她们想通过我的帮助来庆祝某个特殊的事件或者纪念日。曾经有位顾客想把第一次约会时的收据放进吊坠里。这个想法很独特，做这个项目我非常开心。这其实也让我意识到还是有很多浪漫的男生存在的。
Do you have a protégée?
Yes, from time to time. I actually just went to a graduation and I’ve picked two or three and I’m just talking to their teachers now to see if they can be involved with what’s going on at my studio. I take interns and trainees to teach younger designers the tricks of our career, and also to pay back to the industry. While I love free minds and design in all its shapes, for young individuals to join my team it’s important that they fit into my aesthetic, which is quite strong.
What do you see happening in the future for you?
As independent designers, we have great support for the government – those with recognized artistic ability, creative flair will always be supported. This is obviously reassuring, and it motivates me to do my job with care and attention to details. I can see a bright future ahead of me, but I know I have to be sure of my voice but at the same time flexible and willing to listen to what people want. I know this is always be challenging. Again, it’s about finding a balance.
作为独立设计师，我们得到了政府的大力支持 – 政府一直致力于支持这些被认可的艺术才能和创造火焰。这当然是令人安心的，这也激励我在工作时更用心更关注细节。我能看到前途是光明的，但我也知道，我在确定自己声音的同时，需要虚心听取大众的意见。我知道这非常有挑战性。但，这有关于找到平衡。
Once again, Marilyn is the example that is never too late to pursue a dream, and that when occasions present themselves we need to be ready to go for it – this is the secret for happiness and fulfilment.
追逐梦想永远不会太迟 – Marilyn就是一个很好的例子。当机会发生时，我们需要做好准备抓住它 – 这就是快乐感和成就感的秘诀。
And by the way, I bought the ring I saw on the website and I’ve been wearing it a lot since I got back to Beijing. And I love it.
Marilyn Tan ha lasciato la sua carriera di avvocato per dedicarsi alla cura dei suoi figli. Quando si e’ accorta che non poteva essere una mamma a tempo pieno e’ tornata alla sua passione di bambina: il design di gioielli. E ora produce nel suo piccolo studio a Singapore e vende a clienti in Europa e America. E i suoi pezzi sono bellissimi.
For the chat with Marilyn I was delighted to wear:
red tee 红色T恤: American Apparel
striped skirt 条纹裙: Zara
sneakers 鞋子: Convers All Star
bangles 手镯: Kate Spade
The picture of us together was taken with my Sony NEX-5T.
For all the other pictures, special thanks to Marilyn Tan.
Translation by Vivian Zhou.