LA DiOSALA DiOSA
is a London-based jewellery design company that seeks to empower women, by designing signature statement jewellery, featuring colourful chunky gemstones in celebration of modern Goddesses everywhere. LA DiOSA was founded in 2007 by Ugandan-born Natasha Faith, and Semhal Zemikael born to Ethiopian/Eritrean parents; friends who first met whilst studying Philosophy, and now create their gorgeous designs from a showroom in Hatton Garden, London’s famed jewellery quarter. A combined interest in fashion, led the duo to exploring the idea of creating and selling their own jewellery. The name' La Diosa', means 'Goddess' in Spanish and as the name of their company pays homage to the influences and place where it all began; Mexico.
[Image credit: Kezen Necklace - LA DiOSA]
Prior to starting the company the duo travelled the world for a year, visiting and drawing inspiration from far-flung places such as Thailand, Singapore, Tokyo and Malaysia; but it was a six-month stay in Mexico that Natasha and Semhal learnt their trade, spending time with a group of local women who taught them invaluable jewellery-making skills. Upon their return to the UK; and with help and advice from the Prince’s Trust, launched their multi award-winning label.
[Image credits: top, Hathor Multi-Stone Bracelet; bottom, Asteria Amethyest Druzy Ring - LA DiOSA]
LA DiOSA’s handcrafted designs are made with rare and unusual gemstones, and precious metals, taking care to source the materials ethically.
Amharic for Lion, Ambessa
is a new range of specialty teas created by top chef Marcus Samuelsson
. Marcus embarked on creating the tea blends whilst writing his recently published memoirs; Yes, Chef. For the people of Ethiopia Ambessa represents pride, strength and independence; and for Marcus' Ambessa also represents his travels, experiences and the everyday journeys that are a part of life.
Paying homage to the diverse cultures of the word, the Ambessa range traces and connects Marcus' Ethiopian heritage, Swedish upbringing, home and career in America, and global travels. Refreshing Green Tea and Nordic Lingonberry combine Japanese and Scandinavian traditions; whilst the rich aroma of a robust Safari Breakfast embodies the tradition of African black teas, and the spices and vibrancy found across the continent. Featuring hints of dark chocolate, peanuts and caramel Choco Nut is a nod to the origins of Marcus' 'culinary awakening' in Switzerland; and not least of all is the Earl of Harlem, in which a traditional Earl Grey gets a boost with citrus layers, bergamot and floral aromas. The teas come beautifully packaged in colourful, patterned retro styled tin boxes; that will have a multitude of uses once you've made your way through the teas.
Ambessa Teas currently available on Harney & Sons priced at: USD$9
For further information about Ambessa Teas and find a stockist visit: www.marcussamuelsson.com
To purchase from Harney & Sons visit: www.harney.com
Universal Fashion Ethiopia
Seeking a way to combine the three main passions in her life; the human spirit, fashion and social responsibility led medical doctor, Dr Amy Demissew, to set up Universal Fashion Ethiopia
, a company which produces a range of personal and interior furnishings that are hand-woven in Ethiopia. Amy sees fashion a universal theme in this world, noting that different culture have their own fashion identity uniting people, Amy who was born and raised in Ethiopia, now resides in the Netherlands; and remembers as a child designing and wearing her own creations. Amy sees fashion a universal theme in this world, noting that different culture have their own fashion identity uniting people. Through Universal Fashion Ethiopia Amy pays homage to the people and culture of Ethiopia, drawing inspiration from the diversity and long history of weaving in the country which is seen in the beautifully woven collection of luxuriously soft scarves, for men and women that are available in a range of colours ranging from bright to subtle and the ideal accessory for any season. The company also produces elegant cushions, table runners and curtains.
Amy's work in psychiatry has enabled her to study the human spirit closely observing that no matter how different we may appear at the core we have a common natural spirit of wanting to be happy whatever we do, and a desire to experience the meaning of life; a need that can be filled through serving others. Acknowledging the feeling of goodness that comes with helping others, Amy also believes in the need to teach others to help themselves as a way of creating a sustainable future, and by setting up Universal Fashion Ethiopia Amy hopes to contribute to the development of Ethiopian society by providing jobs, a good working environment and fair pay. The company also finances micro credit opportunities to help those the company works with to achieve their dreams of setting up a small business and providing for their families in a responsible way rather than simply relying on handouts.
St George Gallery
A renovated a building in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia in the USA is home to the St George Gallery
, a place which serves to bring the best in Ethiopian art; painting, craft, textiles, antiques, furniture, interior and personal accessories, to an American audience. St George Gallery USA is owned by Saba Alene, a renowned gallery owner in her home country Ethiopia; who opened Ethiopia's first art gallery, St George Interior and Art Gallery
in Addis Ababa in 1990.
[Image credit: Selam Group, Solomon and Sheba Side Table and Detail - St George Gallery]
Through her galleries, Saba has and is helping to bring Ethiopian artists and culture to international audiences. Whilst browsing the gallery website it was the design and detail of the furniture that held my attention. The furniture, made from hardwood, is a showcase of Ethiopian culture and tradition and features; historical and religious art, traditional stories and themes, symbols and motifs incorporated into contemporary designs.
The furniture collections seen throughout both galleries are designed by Saba and are handcrafted on the premises of the St George Gallery in Addis Ababa by skilled artisans. Chests of drawers, coffee tables, chairs, side tables and more are produced across three main furniture collections: Endaye which features light and dark hand rubbed leather and designs that are hand carved into the wood. The second collection, Selam, also features designs hand carved into the wood but this is combined with hand painted traditional Ethiopian paintings and scenes. Traditional Ethiopian painting is made up of two main styles; the first is based on the style found in old churches, manuscripts and religious icons and tended to depict stories from the Bible. The second style of painting is based on folk art and is characterised by bright colours and two-dimensional figures with large eyes; this style is usually rendered on stretched parchment. Both painting styles give the Selam range is distinctive appearance. The third collection features a range of mixed designs. The furniture has a 'collectibles' quality about it, and all items designed by Saba are authenticated by a small-stylised version of her initials in Amharic, which is produced in Ethiopian silver and inserted into the wood.
Muya Ethiopia Muya Ethiopia
was founded in 2005 by fashion design entrepreneur Sara Abera, whose primary aim was to introduce Ethiopia's rich traditional weaving heritage to the world through a range of interior and fashion textiles that combined the traditional techniques with modern influences.
Located in Addis Ababa Ethiopia the business brings together Ethiopian weavers and craftsman retraining them in the production of high quality products destined for international markets. Muya means 'talent' in Ge'ez, Ethiopia's classical, liturgical language which has been traced back to 5th century BC; and is the language that gave rise to the Amharic script.
[Image credits: Muya Ethiopia]
The hand woven product ranges include luxuriously soft furnishings; cushion covers, table runners, rugs and linens; and personal accessories; handbags and shawls in sophisticated colour palettes. Muya Ethiopia also produces pottery and furniture that portray a blend of traditional and contemporary design aesthetics. The products have a certain warmth and comforting feel about them.
[Image credits: Banners Commissioned for Addis Ababa Bole International Airport - Muya Ethiopia]
A socially responsible business, Muya Ethiopia employs over 150 people, many of whom are weavers and the business is in the process of developing a larger site to enable around 600 weavers and potters join the business over the next few years. One of the core principles of Muya Ethiopia is to share wealth in knowledge and experience; and inspiration comes from traditional Ethiopian patterns and working together to preserve a rich cultural heritage. Custom products can be commissioned as seen in the majestic handwoven Tibeb banners that great visitors to Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport's international terminal.
For further information about Muya Ethiopia and for order enquiries visit: http://muyaethiopia.net
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you will find the Sabahar Silk Garden, a place celebrating and promoting the artistry and heritage of Ethiopia's long standing weaving traditions. Weaving in Ethiopia dates back to ancient times and all the products produced are woven on traditional looms using age old techniques, that have been passed down through the generations; however some of the techniques are in danger of dying out in favour of modern, often imported products. Named after the Queen of Sheba 'Saba' and 'Har' the Amharic word for silk; Sabahar
works with artisans from around the country, designing and producing stylish collections of luxurious hand woven silk and cotton home and fashion accessories.
Sabahar is a small fair trade company that was established in 2001 by Kathy Marshall, a Canadian who following a career in the development sector moved to Ethiopia in 1994 with the aim of creating a business that was sustainable, creating employment opportunities and income generation within the local communities. Culturally, the spinning is done by women whilst the men do the weaving an aspect which is reflected in the company. In addition to a staff of about 40, Sabahar outsources work to more than 25 spinners and 25 weavers, who work from their homes or through cooperatives. The products are designed by various people including; the General Manager, fashion designers who help out at Sabahar from time to time, and the weavers themselves as different areas of the country produce weavers with their own distinctive weaving skill resulting in unique patterns and textures.
[Image credits: top, Hand Woven Cushions; bottom, Home Furnishings - Sabahar]
With the exception of a percentage of the silk cocoons used, every aspect of the production process is local from the silk cocoon's raised by then bought from farmers in the South West of Ethiopia to spinning, weaving and dyeing. Sabahar uses Eri silk sourced from Ethiopia and India and Mulberry silk which comes from Uganda. The dyes used for the silks are 100% natural extracted from plants, leaves, bark, flowers, insects and even coffee. Eri silk is a 'wild silk' relatively new to Ethiopia and is hand spun producing a linen like texture, Mulberry silk on the other hand is reeled into a fine thread resulting in the more finely woven, shiny texture commonly associated with silk. In addition to silk, Sabahar also creates products utilising Ethiopian cotton which is hand spun and dyed using low impact dyes for easier cleaning. Available locally as well as internationally, Sabahar's collections include; scarves, wrap, poncho's and home accessories; cushions, throws, blankets and curtains.
...beautifully hued silks to brighten up any interior
For further information about Sabahar, order enquires and to find a stockists visit: www.sabahar.comIn the Uk you can purchase Sabahar products from Danaqa: www.danaqa.com
Ethiopia with Wild Frontiers
Often receiving more than its fair share of negative press, means for far too many holiday seekers Ethiopia doesn't immediately spring to mind as an ideal holiday destination, but this year I have read about more and more people choosing it as their holiday destination of choice as they search for a more meaningful way to spend their vacation time. Wild Frontiers
is a pioneering, award winning travel company that specialises in taking small groups of it's discerning clientele to places that don't tend to be part of the popular tourist trails and return offering them a unique experience, and one of the places on its itinerary is Ethiopia. Inviting potential travellers to look beyond the usual headlines of a no go area defined by famine and poverty, Wild Frontiers acknowledges a country of dramatic landscapes from flat topped mountains to cascading waterfalls and one that is overflowing with culture. With tours scheduled periodically through to 2013, itineraries can see guests: take a languid boat trip on Lake Tana taking in hippos basking on the banks of the lake and pink flamingoes as you make your way across; or explore the well preserved castles of Gondor that date back to the 17th century Ethiopia is a country brimming with ancient monasteries, castles and churches hewn out of the surrounding rock; or trek through the spectacular Highlands offering some stunning panoramic views whilst visiting villages along the way; and when you’ve had your fill of sightseeing pass through the bustling daily markets to pick up some reminders of your trip and later unwind to jazz fusion sounds in a jazz bar in Addis Ababa.
Founded in 2002 by Jonny Bealby a travel writer who wanted others to have the opportunity to experience some of those he enjoyed as a writer, Wild Frontiers is first and foremost a company set up by 'travellers for travellers', gathering like- minded people to work in a company that upholds the values of responsible tourism. Taking guests of the beaten track into often inaccessible, yet incredible places, the team at Wild Frontiers draw on an extensive list of contacts to make this happen ensuring the safety and comfort of their travelers; to help you decide there is a handy guide next to each excursion denoting the level of factors like physical challenge, comfort and cultural experience. Wild Frontiers is small and personalised and looking to remain that way.
…, embark on a voyage of discovery to Ethiopia with Wild Frontiers
Prices for an 8-day package to Ethiopia with Wild Frontiers currently start from: £1385 pp
For further information about Wild Frontiers visit: www.wildfrontiers.co.uk
If you spent most of your days working with the various shades of a single colour; in this case white and ivory, you could forgive one for assuming that it would be natural to leap at the chance of introducing a splash of colour into other areas of your life, be it dress or living space. Not a theory to be applied to Amsale Aberra
, the Ethiopian designer of exquisite bridal gowns, whose New York loft is a free flowing space defined by a monochromatic colour palette that is predominately white; the bridal influence perhaps... Located on the eleventh floor of an industrial building in New York's Garment District, Amsale began creating her coveted range wedding gowns out of the loft and I guess the inspiration remained behind when the business eventually relocated to a showroom close by.
Amsale called upon Vicente Wolf
, the renowned interior designer who just happened to be her neighbour, to help design the interior. Vicente Wolf is known for his stylish interior designs inspired by art and design from around the world, and filling his showroom with unique objects from Europe, Africa and Asia. Although helping to create a sense of light and airiness as the open spaces of the loft flow seamlessly into each other, the colour white has the potential to come across as harsh and clinical, however Amsale and Vicente have sought to break up the stark white walls and concrete floors with shades of grey ranging from ‘barely there’ mist to hints of solid black lines along with neutral creams and off white tones. Together this has the effect of softening up the edge, bringing a sense of calm and elegance into the space. The detailing seen in strategically place objects reflect the detailing that go into her creations.
I personally prefer to be surrounded by colour but fully appreciate the stunning effect a monochromatic scheme can have and Amsale's home is a beautiful example of how to make it work. Her home doesn't come across as cold to me but instead quite harmonious, balanced by the colour opposites and tonal ranges, rather like shading in pencil drawings to add light and dark to give the feeling of depth.
...very chic, but must take a lot of effort to keep clean!Additional information sourced from:kikette-interiors.blogspot.com
For further information about Amsale Aberra visit: www.amsale.com
To find out more about Vicente Wolf visit: www.vicentewolf.com
Loving these stylish clutch bags by London-based accessories label, Aiyda
. Chic and elegant, the ‘Addis’ clutch is made from supple leather and is secured with a long strip of leather that winds around the side of bag, which makes for eye-catching detailing.
Aiyda is an accessories brand that was founded by London-based Raku Sile. Hailing from Ethiopia, - a place to where Raku goes when the need to escape the hectic pace of London life arises - Raku is continually inspired by the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the country and sought a way to help talented Ethiopian artists struggling to make a living, reach a wider audience. The result was Aiyda; an exclusive line of limited edition fashion accessories that include handbags, custom-made jewellery and traditionally handwoven cotton and silk scarves. All products are handmade in Ethiopia and Aiyda is the vehicle that works to shine the spotlight on Ethiopian craftsmanship and artistry, introducing the beautiful products created to an international audience. Working with artisan workshops around the country and bringing together talented and highly skilled artisans, Raku is helping to provide much needed employment.
...simply stylish arm candy
Prices for the bags: £39-£115
For further information about Aiyda visit: www.aiyda.com
Etiyé Dimma Poulsen
Adorn your walls with these rather intriguing mixed-media sculptures from Ethiopian-born artist, Etiyé Dimma Poulsen
. Distinctive forms in bright earthy colours show humanity stripped back to its most basic forms, displaying a frail-like vulnerability in the process.
Etiyé is an artist from a diverse multicultural background; born in Ethiopia, she was adopted by a Danish family living in Tanzania and attended an English school in Kenya before going to Denmark with her family. Later establishing herself as an artist, Etiyé opened a workshop in France and then moved to Belgium in 2003 where she currently has a workshop.
Etiyé bases her sculptures on traditional African art, seeing them as a kind of reinvention of the ancient artform; and on a personal level nostalgia for a continent she left long ago. With African art as a base Etiyé’s creations also display influences from ancient Greek art and through her work Etiyé primarily creates Primordial figures in a process which could be called an examination of human nature. Processes like baking the clay in the oven draws parallels with one of humanity’s basic, most essential activities; that of cooking. Harnessing the elements of earth and fire, the sculptures are handmade using iron mesh and clay - soil from the earth - which is then painted before being fired in the kiln where the final results are left to chance due to the natural chemical reactions that occur.
[Image credit: top, Couple; bottom, Maji - Etiyé Dimma Poulsen]
Grouping figures together gives them a sense of belonging and it could be said a way of highlighting our shared existence from the joys to the sorrows. They are some funky looking sculptures, but they are also ones that make you reflect on humanity and its basic needs; for me even more so when I see what is currently happening on the streets of London and across the UK.
For further information about Etiyé Dimma Poulsen, upcoming shows, where to purchase visit: www.etiye.com