Interview to Alicia Santamaría, founder of Ondalupita

We interviewed Alicia Santamaría, founder of Ondalupita, a jewellery and accessories brand.

What did you study and where did you study?

I have a Bachelor’s degree and postgraduate studies in Fine Arts (UCM, Madrid) and Artistic Jewellery at the Massana School of Barcelona. I was so lucky to study for 3 months at Chelsea Fine Arts University, London, with an Erasmus grant.

What job do you have now?

I’m an independent creative artist, handicrafts workshop teacher, who also gives support at an online shop for an international brand of crafts products.

What does your job involve?

As a creative artist I plan, design and create different handicraft projects using different techniques, ranging from crochet, felt work, embroidery or jewellery to handmade stamping and book binding.
I’m also in charge of pattern design for handicraft works that are published in specialized magazines and websites.
As an agent at an online shop I give advice and technical support to costumers.

How does your job enable you to be creative?

I feel very lucky because I can create my own designs from zero and see how materials come into different lives.
Sometimes I have to follow some guidelines, such as the color range I have to use or the final function of the designed object.

Describe the pathway you took to get from university to your current role.

After university I sat the state exams for high school teachers, as teaching seemed a sensible path. However, I felt the creative urge, moved from Madrid to Barcelona and enrolled in Artistic Jewellery studies.
It was great to learn about the requirements to set up your own business, which gave me a completely new perspective. This type of formation is essential for entrepreneurship and I had had none in my previous Fine Arts studies.
Thanks to this new perspective, Ondalupita was launched as a jewellery and accessories brand. Lupita dolls for pendants and brooches are, by far, the stars of the firm.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to work as an accessories’ designer for a well-known fashion brand in Spain.

What is the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a student?

Well, this is not an easy question… “Follow your creative instinct (that is why I did) and learn as much as possible!”

What do you enjoy about what you do?

I enjoy with every new design, feeling my ideas grow and blend into materials and discovering the new “mysteries” to be solved in the interaction between materials and techniques.
I’m happy to see the reactions of people to my creations and enjoy being in contact with motivated learners when teaching crafts. Their enthusiasm is really rewarding!
I also enjoy testing new materials for the company I work for.