Umya is the brand of the young Belgian artist Ushas Merten. She makes thoughtful jewels balancing organic touches with clean and geometrical structures.
Bel'Arte has been working with Ushas since 2015, since the very beginning of the shop !
We asked her some questions that will allow you to know her better. Here is her interview :
Jean-Louis : Who's hiding behind Umya ?
Ushas : My name is Ushas Merten, I come from a small hill in Wallonia in Belgium where everything is green with the smell of cows and forests.
Why this name "Umya" ?
Well, my second name is Uma, which people called me until I was 9 years old. And I was happy to subtly give it some place in my life again.
Since when did you start making jewelry ?
In 2014 I taught myself how to make jewelry and developed my brand, Umya, which quickly became my full time activity.
Can you define your style and what makes it unique ?
Since my early beginnings I have been searching for a balance between clean, sharp shapes, with a playful, subtle, organic presence. The two aspects together seem to complete and reinforce each other in my eyes.
I like brushed surfaces and enjoy fine lines with a shine.
I have become in love with mixing metals, always looking for an aesthetic where one tone is more present then the other.
I work mostly with silver and brass, but also enjoy a bit of copper. Gold fills my heart every time I get the chance to work with it.
You traveled a lot before you landed in Belgium, tell us more !
Back in 2007 when I was 18 and finished school, a decade of traveling started :
I spent one year in Scotland, two years in Madrid, 3 years in Brussels, a year shared between Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Then I spent almost two years between Friedrichshafen in Germany and Barcelona to finally land back in the Belgian countryside in 2017, close from where I grew up.
What did you do during all these trips ?
In Scotland I met my Spaniard.
In Madrid and Brussels I studied photography.
In Sydney I taught myself how to work with metal and started developing Umya.
In New-Zealand therapy became one of my first priority in life.
Do you have a special connection with nature ?
Back in Belgium, I developed a deep interest in the whole cycle of growing food. Animals also made a big return in my life, as sheep, ducks, chickens and a dog joined our little family. They are an infinite source of joy, love and energy daily.
Nowadays my life is a balance of these things : making beautiful jewelry, growing as a human through therapy, caring for my animals and growing food.
New trips planned in the future ?
Travelling isn’t calling me at all anymore, on the contrary : I feel like settling deeply and fully right here.
After all these experiences I realized this climat, this vegetation, this experience of seasons change, was where I felt the happiest and most fulfilled.
I love our humid, rainy weather, and our so green grass. I love how each season is so very changing and palpable.
Finally, if you were a Belgian city what would it be and why ?
I would not be a city! I would be ... a big vegetable garden with hens and trees around, rain, wind, sun, snow and all that :-).
Follow this link to discover all Umya collection on the webshop.
See you soon on Bel'Arte blog for another creator's interview !