Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Marta Sanchez Oms and I was born in Vic, a little city in the north of Catalunya, Spain. Although my family is still living there – my two sisters, my mom, my grandma and an old big cat called Bitxu – I live in Barcelona with my boyfriend Oriol and my cat Xino.
I studied Jewellery Design at the Massana School and Gemology at Barcelona University. I had been working as a shop assistant in a jewellery shop for some years, and two years ago I decided to become my own boss.
At present, I work full time in my own studio, in Gracia area, where I design and make all my jewels. I sell my work to various shops in Barcelona and Spain, making custom jewellery. I hope one day I will be able to open my own Jewellery Shop.
As children, my sister and I used to play together. I remember she loved to collect minerals and stones, and I wanted to become a veterinarian. Now, I look back and smile. Today my sister is studying medicine and I’m gemologist. Life takes many turns.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like to get home and spend some time relaxing on the sofa, watching TV, reading a book, playing with my cat or talking to my boyfriend. I tend to do things all the time. At weekends we usually go back to Vic to visit my family and some friends we have there. In winter we like to spend some days at my boyfriend’s parents’ house in the mountains. It’s a lovely place and a really good way to disconnect from our daily life. In the summer we usually go to the beach. I’m a real fan of the sea and I love the taste of a cold beer by a “chiringuito.”
Moreover, I’ve been writing in a local magazine for the last 10 years. I have my own section where I write short fantasy stories. I also have published a small book with a selection of them called T’explico un conte? (Editorial Emboscall, 2003).
I love stones!! I had been in different jewellery fairs in Germany and Spain buying stones and meeting with other jewellery makers. I have opened an Etsy shop called Omshop, where I sell natural gemstones and beads in different cuts as well as drusy. I spend time every day searching for new shapes, new colours and new places where to buy them.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t remember thinking about, “wanting to become an artist.” I’ve always been making things with my hands. When I was a child I spent a lot of hours drawing and painting. My mother always tells the story of how she only needed a pencil and paper to entertain me. She used to let me get dirty making figurines with clay. She still has a mural I made with crayons on one of the walls of the house when I was only two years old!
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Some of my collections are inspired by Egypt or ancient cultures. I use books and the internet to find information about interesting topics; I study them and draw ideas and new interpretations. I always carry with me a sketchbook – now I’m using one Núria did for me – which I love. In there I write ideas, snippets of books, sketches, or simply draw shapes that I like. Sometimes a collection emerges from a trip, other times from a story I have read, or even from a dream I have had, but most times I feel that there is someone who provides the inspiration and guides me.
My last collection came from the idea to do some pieces with flowers. A few years ago I had seen Hamlet, the film with Kenneth Branagh, and then I thought about the beautiful Ofelia dying from drowning. From there I started working with paper cuts, waxes and drawings on the shapes of the flowers. I remember I was reading the novel at the same time. Once the piece was finished we did a photo shoot and a video that shows the creative process.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Over time, I acquired a fine selection of jewels that came about from different sources and places. Every time I travel I like to buy myself a jewel, so each time I wear it I remember where I had bought it. Some of the other ones I have were given to me as presents; some I bought myself from jewellers that I admire. Apart from the jewels, I cherish a special drawing that my boyfriend gave me a few years ago. I also like some photos and the Origami lamps that I was given by some friends.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
I’ve been a really avid reader since I was 7 or 8 years old. My mom loves to read and I love it too. It’s difficult for me to choose only 5 books, because I have hundreds on my mind, but here are the ones I have read a couple of times and I like the most.
– Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (I love all of her Vampire Chronicles!!!)
– Timbuktu by Paul Auster (It’s my favourite writer and I have read all his bibliography)
– Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
– Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (I’m addicted to her books!!)
– The Princess Bride by William Goldman
– Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
– Edward Scissorhands by Tim Burton (I love all Tim Burton’s films, he’s a genius!!)
– The Princess Bride by Rob Reiner
– Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki
– Hook by Steven Spielberg
I’m always listening to music when I work in my studio. Here are the artists that I listen to frequently.
– Michael Jackson
– The Beatles (I have grown up with their songs)
– Ben Lee
– Klimt02 (great contemporary jewellery site)
– Kit and Caboodle (contemporary jewellery network)
– 40Fakes (design blog edited by my boyfriend and some friends)
– Tendencias TV (fashion site with a lot of reports)
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Take care of your shop, keep it updated and use good photographs. Your image is very important, so make sure to have a good banner and beautiful packaging. LOVE your customers, without them there are no sales. Pay attention and establish good communication with them. If you love and have fun with what you do, the rest will come by itself.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
Well, I love Etsy and all its features but I like most Featured Sellers, The Storque, Favourites, Etsy Teams and of course Treasuries. I’m addicted to Etsy Treasuries!! After all this time, I’m really glad that I acquired so many friends from there. In the future, it would be great to have a currency converter for international sellers.
How do you promote your work?
I have a jewellery blog called 18kt where I publish thoughts about jewellers from all over the world. I have an average of 1,000 visits per day and it’s an ideal platform to launch my work. I usually make videos and post them on YouTube. I use Flickr and Facebook, and I usually spend some time on the Internet blogging and visiting some jewellery forums and I have my own website.
Moreover, I send out a Newsletter regularly where I talk about my latest news, work and exhibitions. I’m working on a beautiful piece of promotional material to send to my special customers with the “Ofelia” necklace this summer. Also, I belong to a couple of Etsy Teams; Etsy in Spanish and the Barcelona Team where I’ve just started to collaborate.
In ten years I’d like to be…
making beautiful jewels in a workshop by the sea, living in a big house with my husband and some children… 😉 I’m sure I will be happy and surrounded by people I love.