Artist: Reya Veltman
Location: Geleen, The Netherlands
Web site: Reyart
What do you create?
At the moment, predominantly felted accessories and home decor.
How did you come up with your business name?
I tend to dabble in a few fields (drawing, painting, linoprinting, photography, felting etc.) and wanted something simple which encompassed all my creative endeavors, all my artwork. It's a play on words combining my first name 'Reya' and the word 'art'.
When and why did you decide to start your business?
My business started on the 1st of February 2008. Although I had been creating for as long as I can remember, it was only when it really took off in Etsy did I think that this could be a serious gig.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
Nature is a huge inspiration for me. I adore the irregular, organic shapes you come across while walking through the woods or along the beach. Many of the neutral, earthy tones are also reflected in my work. I also find that the simple beauties of everyday life can be immensely inspiring.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
I would have to say my hands. During the wetfelting process, the only materials involved are your hands, the wool, and soapy water. There is a small level of control when felting in this manner, and you can use your hands to shape an object, but after a while, you need to let the felting process run its own course. It's this idea which appeals to me; the conscious forming of an object in the beginning stages, then allowing it to felt together into the finished piece, and feeling that transformation in your hands.
You work in different mediums. Which one is your favorite or the one you couldn’t live without?
Felting, definitely. It's a new found love, and one which I feel I have a lot yet to learn.
What would be a dream project that you’d love to work on?
I've got three. The first being a set of larger than life felted lamp shades in irregular shapes of elongated pods. Hard to describe, I know, but give me a pencil and pad and I'll sketch it out for you. The reason behind this, white handmade felt and light is a magical combination. Just the thought of the translucency and softness of the felt, the visible fibers, and pure magnitude of the lampshades makes me swoon.
The second being a large rug made entirely of felted pebbles stitched together. My felted pebbles are made using actual rocks, but the pebbles of this floor piece would be made only of wool roving. Can you imagine just walking barefoot on that? And last of all, anything having to do with Marcel Wanders.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Stay focused and positive. Accept that there will be good times and slow times, and keep creating nonetheless.
What's the most important thing you'd like people to know/understand about your work?
That every single piece is made with love, as corny as it sounds. There's so much of myself and my thoughts in every single item I make.
What have you learned about yourself through your work?
The most important thing I've learnt is to be creative for myself. There was a time long ago when I felt I was creating for others, felt too influenced by other people’s opinions, and was too fixated on what everyone else thought about my art. Glad to say that it's no longer so. Now I make art which appeals to me, and just follow my own flow of thoughts when creating.
If you had the time, what new craft/medium would you like to learn or use?
Pottery! I've wanted to try my hand at pottery and ceramics for years, and coincidentally, I've already registered for a course next year. Starts January.
What's your definition of a perfect day?
Waking up to a warm and sunny day in Paris with my dear husband. Fresh croissants, lots of photo-taking, and frequent cafe breaks with moleskine at hand. Perfection!
Thank you Reya!