Something which you may not know about us three bloggers (Irene, Marta, and Laura; you can get to know us better in the About Us section in the blog! ) is the fact that the three of us are big collectors –or pack-rats, as some may say! –. Marta collects old records since she was seven. Irene has always loved snow globes, and has more than 40 in her room. And I have been fascinated by unique editions of books for as long as I can remember.
And even though we are interested in very different things, we have always seemed to agree in the fact that collecting is to us a way to stay anchored to our roots. Because however strange this may seem to somebody outside of our field, to study a degree like ours –one that could take you literally anywhere– can end up making you feel very detached from your home life. Our respective collections, which we’ve been building since we were rosy-cheeked children, are always there to remind us of home whenever we’re craving that coziness.
And this is true for many people besides us. Maybe it was for this reason that we liked Josep’s store so much.
Josep Valsells opened his store El Col·leccionista (In English, the Collector) fifteen years ago. And even though this seems like a really long time, it has actually been way more: we found out that he’s been collecting things ever since he was little. He started out with coins, and after that he never stopped.
And so it seems that he was meant to do this. The truth is that he joked around with the idea for a while before actually realizing that he wanted to carry on with it. He searched for a space in Barcelona, took out all of his old collections and started to figure out what was worth selling.
Since then there haven’t been two days alike. From what he told us, every day new and more interesting people come to the shop searching for the perfect item to add to their own personal collections. And they can also be quite challenging: sometimes people will look for something so specific that it will take him ages to track the piece down. But the reasons and the stories behind their search are all the more interesting.
And that’s what he loves most about his store: the people who come in. He told us that people who come to antique shops are always interesting; and that is because in these modern days when you can get a new and improved version of pretty much everything, whoever deliberately goes to an antique shop looking for a specific piece must have a reason behind it. There is always a sensibility attached to collecting. And people who don’t have it will probably never feel drawn to coming inside the shop.
That is actually what happened just a few months ago, when a man came into the shop attracted by its vintage feel. That man was no other than a member of the filming crew of the movie Ahora o Nunca (Now or Never), the same crew who also created the very successful film Ocho Apellidos Vascos (Eight Basque Surnames). And of course, he liked the store so much that he asked if a few scenes of the movie could be filmed in there.
And it ended up being a pretty funny story: Because the characters who appear in the movie are supposed to be in London, the filming crew had to swipe the store inch by inch, making sure that there weren’t any items in the background which gave away the fact that the actors weren’t really in London. He was laughing as he told us that, citing it as an extremely bizarre experience.
But hey, we actually can’t wait to live some of these bizarre experiences. Because if there’s one thing that we’re learning from working on this project, it’s that odd situations come with the business. But in our opinion, that’s what keeps it all interesting. And with a good job to keep us motivated and a good collection to remind us of our roots, we feel like we might be happy for many moons to come.