Hello! I am delighted to share another episode of BCN Handmade with you today! Meet Ivonne Schippers, alround lovely lady and creator of cool, well made, understated and practical bags, both big and small, for her label Ada Blackjack. Ready? Here goes: BCN Handmade – Ada Blackjack!
Ivonne and I met some years ago, when her partner and I were both working for the same firm and went for after work drinks one evening. An evening that turned into a night of clubbing and lots of fun! We’ve kept in touch, mainly through Facebook these years (funny how these things go sometimes) and recently I saw she’d started making gorgeous bags, and selling them on Etsy.com, so I contacted her and asked if she wanted to be featured in this blog.
To my delight, she was very happy to and so we arranged for me to go to her home one morning a couple of weeks ago, to take some photos. It turned into a lengthy session, which started with a general catch-up chat with both Ivonne and her partner, accompanied by delicious tea and biscuits, and then some photos, more tea, lots of laughs, more photos and finding common or similar memories of occurrences during our childhood years in the Netherlands. One of Ivonne’s cats joined us and made me laugh, for it would creep into the shots a lot of the time, so finally, I gave in, and you’ll see him in a few of them.
But enough of my rambling! I’d better show you images of Ivonne’s studio and her beautiful bags, and afterwards, Ivonne can tell you a bit about herself in her own words…
Where are you from?
I’m from Utrecht, Holland.
What does Barcelona mean to you?
Barcelona is the city that I’ve been calling home for the last 4 years. It wasn’t love at first sight though. Barcelona is a beautiful city, the weather is great, you’re close to the mountains and the Costa Brava but in the beginning it was hard, especially since I didn’t speak the language. Language is key for really getting to know the city and the people living in it. With time I learned to love and appreciate the city. Now I feel blessed to be able to enjoy all the interesting beautiful places of Barcelona, the food and drinking a beer on a terrace in the sun.
My favourite spot in Barcelona is Montjuïc. Although I live close to it, I don’t go often enough. I love walking around and discover all the little parks and interesting places. I always take a peak at the diving pool, it has an amazing view over the city and I love seeing the seagulls making use of it in the months when it’s not open for public. When you go to Montjuïc you can escape the city for a moment, enjoy great views and feel surrounded by nature in the middle of Barcelona that’s always busy.
My favourite restaurant in Barcelona is Dos Palillos, it’s located on Calle Elisabets, next to Casa Camper. They serve Asian dishes in the Spanish tapas style, dishes are surprising, very tasty and they look beautiful. It’s not cheap but if you have something to celebrate, this is the place to go.
I studied theatre, film, and television science, a study where you not only get to watch a lot of movies but you learn about storytelling and how to analyse media. After graduating I worked for a movie distributor and later for a communication agency. In 2008 I moved to Barcelona and after having difficulty finding a job, I decided to do a postgraduate strategic planning at the University Ramon Llull. Later I worked for an apartment booking agency as an online marketer.
How did you get here?
In 2010 I lost my job and realising that it would be very hard finding a good job in Spain where the economic recession was in full swing, I decided to make a radical swift and do something completely different, something more true to my heart so I signed up for a yoga teacher training. Due to an injury I had to postpone the training and in the mean time I dusted off my sewing machines. In the past I sewed as a hobby, making some of my own clothes and doing some pattern making courses. The initial idea was to make bags for yoga mats but pretty soon I decided to make other types of bags as well. With a lot of practising and studying I am where I’m now, selling my bags online.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by people who have a passion for what they do, whatever small or big that may be, nothing beats doing things with your heart.
When / how does inspiration strike?
My head is usually full of ideas and it’s all about elimination and making choices. My design process usually starts when I go hunting for fabrics. I get inspired by colours, prints and textures. By mixing and matching the fabrics the idea starts to take form, then I draw a design and start sewing. It’s always interesting to see the final result, sometimes it turns out exactly as I had envisioned it, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s really a process of trial and error.
What do you find most satisfying about your making process?
The process itself, when I’m working on my bags, it’s like meditating, all my attention is focused towards what I am doing. I love to work with my hands and create something from scratch, it’s very rewarding.
Being able to keep on doing what I am doing now, I consider myself very fortunate to be able to do something I truly love.
Thanks Ivonne, for the super fun morning at your home, chatting, drinking tea and taking photos!! I hope you keep making such lovely bags for many years, and that you sell lots and lots! Here’s keeping fingers crossed that this week’s feature on Etsy helps… and meanwhile, I’m saving my pennies to buy you a bag or two!