Photo by @silvioposada 

Spanish jewellery designer, Belén Fernández-Vega of To Be Continued talks to us about the pieces she has given new life to, a look into her studio and her story. 

Little backstory… when we, Insider’s Travel, take guests on our Madrid fashion and artisan tours, we sometimes pop in to see Belén at her studio! 

Belén rescues jewellery. Bring her the special pieces you just don’t wear or that have changed their meaning and redesigns/re-goldsmiths them into unique pieces that truly connect to the person who will wear them.  She also designs her own piecesjewellery – each full of intention.

Joanna was wearing an olive stone necklace. A piece Joanna always has with her to keep Spain close on her travels! 

How did Belén begin? “I never knew I was going to be a jewellery designer!”  It all started when she melted a “huge gold chain from my mother-in-law” to later turn it into a necklace with a small gold bird cage, with big windows. From then on, she was hooked. “I started using antique jewellery to make new things. Giving life to the old pieces.”

“If I had watch strap that I just wasn’t wearing it, even though it is important to me, what would you do with it?” Well, she would create something like… her earrings!  It helps on those days when you maybe aren’t feeling your best, but then you can have a very special piece of jewellery that will help you feel beautiful and help light up your face. It shines through to others, the energy rebota (bounces off you)”

It is so important to recycle, to reuse… “It’s like the Madrileño dish cocido. (The first day,) you make it with vegetables, meat, chickpeas, and you eat it as a soup. With the leftovers, you make croquettes, or ropa vieja, or…  you can reuse each ingredient for dishes for weeks!” 

“I come from a HUGE family – we are 6 sisters & 2 brothers so we were used to doing that!”  Belén has been giving new life to objects, food, clothing her whole life.

“This is why I make jewels, with soul. Very special ones. All of them have a meaning. They are very powerful. For every person.”

Perhaps especially now that our lives have become more simple during this unusual time, we really treasure the objects that we have around that make us feel safe & have good memories. Jewellery is extra special because you can wear it everyday, keep it close to you. 

Speaking of objects that have meaning, Joanna brings out a “something that I’ve always had, it’s a little tiny chair… This is what I was given by my parents when we came on holiday to Spain when I was 3! I think we were along the Costa Brava… I was given this chair and I remember seeing flamenco dancing. And it just planted a seed within me – and it still smells of what I remember, it’s Spain!” Funny how things work out!

“Are you always out & about looking for things that you can incorporate in your work? Or is it about you coming across things that you think will work well? Is it incidental?”

“As you guys are, I’m a traveller. I’m a hunter. I’m a seeker. I’m lots of things. In fact. I’ll show you around, you’ll see that I’m a hoarder… My studio… I put things in every place!” 

(Tour of studio) 

Each piece has a story. 

  • This lamp, which looks like a moon & the stars. I designed it with a very good friend, Paco (@pacosantamaria_pacotime)
  • Ring made from the clasp of watch straps.  
  • Necklace made with a glass penguin made by friend Angela Lizarazo (@luzalizarazo). “The glass pieces that she makes. I dress them up.” 
  • Cufflinks made from coco beans!  Ebony cufflinks too! They were set upon a map, painted by her friend Alicia Estefanía!
  • This is the last piece I made, a necklace with wood and an antique chain.
  • Last piece she showed us: these gorgeous cufflinks

Where is Belén from? 

I am from Asturias, a beauuuutiful area. You should go there! I have a big family there, HUGE. We are like 80 people at least! We have a long table, a super long table where we have lunch every day. We have like 3 lunches a day – because there are so many people!”

Asturias has a sublime seaside. It also has a food scene like you wouldn’t believe. Sidra, the apple cider made here, is poured in a very specific way. It looks easy, but not many people can escanciar el culin (pour the small amount of cider) properly!  (What do you think? Can you pour sidra like this guy?)

Belén is from the small town of Ceceda, about 20 minutes from the seaside, close to the city of Oviedo.  

Now as a long time resident of Madrid, she of course participates in Madrid’s patron saint day, San Isidro! 

With chulapa head scarfs & flowers on, vermouths poured, & gildas skewered, these little Spanish hors d’oeuvres pintxos, named after Rita Hayworth, it’s time to talk about our favorite vermuterías in Madrid! 

FYI next time you are in Madrid, we would love to take you to a few! We will customize our tapas tour to include them (& of course, make sure we go at the perfect hour 🙂 )

See you next time on @insiderstravel!

♥ Insider’s Travel

 

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