Sorry to have kept you waiting today! I’ve been doing some DIY in my home and as a result I was too nackered to write this post last night, and too sleepy to do so early this morning! Technical glitches delayed things ever further, but here it is, a new installment in the BCN Handmade series, in which we meet the people behind Novedades.
They are: Maria del Mar (or Mar for short) of Lolitas BCN, the lovely lady who started Novedades and who makes so many different things with textiles as their basis; Imanol Ossa, the gentle man who first joined Mar at Novedades, and who brings new life and adds light to all things discarded, and Marta of Literatura Vertical and Lamagaprints, the latest addition to Novedades and the friendly creative behind all the items at Novedades that have graphic design at their heart.
They each have a space in the workshop that is visible behind the shop that is Novedades, from which they design, create and make (by hand!) their wonderful items, each with their own style and origins. It’s best they tell you themselves about what drives them, what inspires them, and which spots are their favourite in Barcelona, so check out the slideshow and read on…
Where are you from?
Mar: I’m from Valencia, although I have returned to my origins, for my family is Catalonian.
Imanol: I was born in Zomaia, Gipuzkoa.
Marta: I’m from Mollet del Vallès, a city close to Barcelona.
What does Barcelona mean to you?
Mar: When I was little, we visited Barcelona quite often, and I always thought I’d live in this city. It has opened my mind a lot and has given me the opportunity to do, and make a living doing what I like.
Imanol: For me, Barcelona is a place where I have been able to develop my creativity. It is where I have been living since I was 18, which is when I came here to study.
Marta: Barcelona is my home now. I arrived 12 years ago, and at that time it meant liberty and opportunities: I literally wanted to eat Barcelona, absorb everything that it had to offer at a creative and cultural level. And here, now, surrounded by my family, settled with good friends, my partner and my 4 year old son. Mi current Barcelona is a lot more serene and calm… fortunately!
Mar: Montjuïc. Every weekend I go there for a walk, and I live nearby.
Imanol: Montjuïc mountain and Garraf beach, where I disconnect from all things urban. The Raval, where I have my studio, and where I get inspired by its colourful humanity.
Marta: Montjuïc: it’s a magical mountain. There is a lot of green to get lost or go for walks, spend the day, disconnect… and I adore the MNAC.
Mar: Lia d’en Vicius in Poble Sec… a small tavern where you can drink and eat very well.
Imanol: Kaiku in Barceloneta.
Marta: I really like Bohemic, on Carrer Manso 42 (Phone: +34 934 240 628). A small restaurant with the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro, which is run by a family and whose chef has worked in the best restaurants of the country.It’s not cheap, but each and every dish on the menu is a delight.
Mar: I studied fashion design, although I’ve been interested in textile from a young age, and I worked in several home textile companies before coming to Barcelona.
Imanol: I started studying dental prosthetics, because of its handmade aspect. Afterwards I studied interior design at EINA in Barcelona, where I started drifting towards recycling. I wanted to add recycling to the world of design, and started a collective with artists and architects, called “Torre de Papel” (Paper Tower – sic), and we did urban projects for the council of Barcelona.
From 1995, which was when I started working in the artistic field, and have been centered on reusing daily objects, creating unique pieces. I started with cutlery, bearings from my father’s company, and materials I would find on the street, transforming them in utilitarian objects and giving them a new life.
Marta: I started studying Law, but I soon decided that my creative side beat my pragmatic side by many rounds. So while I studied Law I started to study Graphic Design, and I obtained degrees in both. Soon I partnered with a classmate and we started to work for ourselves, being given the opportunity to create graphic art for great chefs such as Santi Santamaria, Nandu Jubany or Nuclo, the restaurant at Fira Gran Vía, among others.
How did you get here?
Mar: Lolitas BCN started in a very casual way, as a present to my nephews, although I believe it was something I had been incubating for years. Several friends encouraged me to launch the project and here I am, with 10 years of Lolitas BCN behind me.
Imanol: My work as an artist recycling the discarded, is born out of certain ecological militancy, but at the same time, it is a way to see the objects created by an industrial society as new raw materials.
From the start, my obsession has been to add light to everything I found, and this has become a rather important line in my work, the design of lamps and their production.
I would define my work as “Arts and Crafts”, a homage to artisanal work, but from a more contemporary perspective.
Marta: I was the creative half of the Duoh! agency, and later created my own agency, Lamaga. I alternate my passion for design with my facet as editor and copy at the helm of the Literatura Vertical, an editorial which publishes only on decorative vinyl, and which is at the forefront in combining decoration with pedagogics by means of poetry for our little ones. I am also fortunate to be able to scratch some time out of my role as a mother and dedicate myself to experimenting with Lamagaprints, the Lamaga lab&shop: where we experiment with photography, ceramics, etching and screen printing… creating items in very limited editions in a production that is completely handmade.
What inspires you?
Mar: Anything can inspire you… I believe that it depends on how receptive you are at a given time. The simplest things can give you ideas.
Imanol: Existing materials, playing with the memories and shapes they contribute.
Marta: Millions of things! I’m a very restless and nervous woman; my head never stops and I am drawn to any creative technique, and I don’t stop until I have worked with it. At the moment I really like Northern graphics, the way in which vintage patterns have been recovered and been applied to many media.
I read lots of blogs, and from them I get not only inspiration but also the content of my blog about design: Magenta Life. I’m like a hummingbird, a bit from here, a bit from there… I really enjoy everything I do, and I allow myself to be swept away with the current when I feel like trying something new. Novedades to me, is a space where I can unleash all these passions, and there are many things I learn from Mar and Imanol’s talents.
When does inspiration strike?
Mar: Well, as I was saying earlier, the mix between your livelihood and being receptive at any given time, serves for inspiration to surge… sometimes also in moments of stress interesting things happen.
Imanol: Inspiration surges as a response to a tension, as a result of a commission, when a client brings it, or when you manage to dominate a material that you have found.
Marta: Without warning, and that sometimes makes me very nervous! If I have my iPad to hand, I’ll write what has happened and I send it to myself by email, to work on it when I’m in my studio, or to add it to my “to do list”. If not, I’ll scribble something in the notebook I always carry with me. My next challenge is to return to urban sketching. I freaked out when I met illustrator and urban sketcher Lapin, and I decided that it was time to give my sketch book from my student days a second chance.
What do you find satisfying about your making process?
Mar: Well I generally find the process more satisfying than the result.
Imanol: When after creative torment you see the object with a face and eyes, and you start to develop it with enthusiasm.
Marta: Without a doubt the result. Whether it turns out as I had imagined, or as a total mess, it relaxes me to have reached the end of the road, and I try not to get discouraged if it isn’t what I had in mind. Although if we’re talking about enjoyment, there is nothing like creating when trying something new and discovering that it is exactly what my project needed.
Mar: To continue living and enjoying doing what I like… dolls and everything that has to do with textile.
Imanol: That design may incorporate ecological concepts into its nature. A world that is more human and less materialistic.
Marta: They haven’t changed, the same as in my adolescence: to do what I enjoy and have the freedom to do so. As with everyone, money is usually what determines being able to live this kind of life, and it’s not always on my side. When it isn’t, I resign myself to being the in charge of my destiny. What I can’t deny, is that my ego as a creative wishes that what I do is appreciated and liked.
Thank you Mar, Imanol and Marta, for sharing your passions with us, for creating so many beautiful things, and for welcoming me into your studios! It was a great pleasure to to meet all three of you, and I wish your dreams and hopes will come true!
For more information about Mar, check out the Lolitas BCN website and on Facebook here, about Imanol, check out his website and Facebook page, and about Marta, check out Literatura Vertical and Lamagaprints, as well as her Facebook page for each here and here, and for updates on Novedades, check out its Facebook page here.