Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

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It’s my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings! You can follow her on Instagram, as well as check out her Etsy shop and website. 

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Can you tell me about yourself, your journey with weaving, and the story behind your shop? What’s life like in Manitoba, Canada and the balance between being an artist/crafter and a mother?  

My name is Rebecca Riel, but most people call me Becca. I have degrees in Political Science and Social Work, but after having my son two years ago, I decided not to go back to work. At the time we were living in a very small town in rural Manitoba and childcare was limited. While on my extended mat leave, I became a little stir crazy and got really into DIY projects. I actually started with woodworking and re-finishing furniture. Until that time (like many other people I’m sure!), I had always said “I’m not the creative type.” I now realize it’s not that I wasn’t creative – it’s that I had never given myself the opportunity to BE creative.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

I had always excelled in academia, but never explored my artistic side. As I got further down the DIY rabbit hole, I started signing up for some workshops – one of which was weaving. I have to tell you that I was a disaster at my first workshop! I tangled my warp thread so bad, even the teacher was surprised (haha)! In any event, I fell in love that day – despite the fact that it didn’t come naturally to me at first. So I took my loom home and slowly traded my woodworking projects for fiber projects. I had the idea to try to weave a map in the shape of my home province of Manitoba and suddenly people were asking to buy them. It started with friends and family but sort of organically grew into something else. Last fall, after much encouragement from loved ones, I gathered up the courage to open up an Etsy shop and haven’t looked back. That’s how Riel Finishings was born. It’s pretty much the ideal job for me! I’m someone who has struggled a lot with anxiety in my life, and I find weaving so therapeutic. The fact that I get to do it as my job now is just unreal to me!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

How do I balance being a mother and an artist? In short, not very well! I am so grateful for how busy I have been since my shop opened. That said, sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. We have had to seek some childcare for my son, just so I can keep up – and most of the time I still feel way behind. My house is usually messy and I don’t cook as often as I’d like. That said, I wake up every day being so grateful for this opportunity and the growth I’ve experienced!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Can you tell me a little bit about your ‘mapestries’? How did you term that awesome phrase?! 

The most popular items I sell at the moment are “mapestries” (map + tapestry). While I began weaving maps of my own province of Manitoba, gradually I started getting requests for other states and provinces. The term “mapestry” came to me one night at 3am when I was up with my son. It literally just popped into my head, in a rare moment of genius!

Fresh week, fresh warp. Get it, hustle, go 👊🏻! 📷: @jfphotoanddesign

A post shared by Riel Finishings (@rielfinishings) on

What kinds of yarn and looms do you use and recommend?

Yarns: I love using a variety of textures in my tapestries. My favourite yarns to work with are hand spun and hand dyed, which I source from other small shops around the world. I’m also passionate about using recycled and reclaimed fiber in my work. You can frequently find denim, mudcloth, and recycled wool in my tapestries. They look unreal, and are also better for the environment. In terms of yarn I would recommend, it really depends on your textural preferences. I would caution against using anything acrylic, because it totally messes with your tension. Some of my favourite yarns to weave with are from: Knit Collage, Fly Yarns, Love Fest Fibers, Divinity Fibers, and Silk Divine.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Looms: I have a LOT of looms! Some of them are handmade, but my favourites are from Lost Pond Looms and Funem Studio. Both companies make excellent looms in a variety of sizes – really perfect if you’re just starting out.

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

 What have been some of your favorite projects and commissions?  

I was recently commissioned by a resort in Manitoba to weave some tapestries for their suites. This commission was the first larger-scale order I’ve ever received, which was a huge milestone for my business. The catch is that they wanted me to weave a buffalo. Yes, I said buffalo and I’m not talking about the place, I’m talking about the animal! When I read the request, I instantly panicked! If you have some familiarity with weaving, you know that some shapes are more difficult than others. I figured there was no way I could do this tastefully, but I challenged myself to give it a try. To my complete surprise, it turned out really well and I’m proud I was able to push through that challenge. I’m somebody who has always been a little insecure. I worry about failure and about what others think of me, and the thing about art is that there’s no room for those fears. You have to push through them. I try a lot of different things and they don’t always work out, but that’s okay, because sometimes they do and it’s magic!

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Artist | Crafter Interview with Weaver Rebecca Riel from Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

Do you have any advice for artists and crafters just getting into weaving?  

I don’t have much in the way of advice for new artists, because, well, I myself am still so new! I would have to say that it’s really important to find your own voice as an artist/weaver, which sometimes means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. When I put on my artist hat, I try not to let the rational/analytical side of my brain rule, and instead follow my heart and my gut. Sometimes that is the scariest feeling, it means being totally vulnerable and putting yourself out there, but you will never know what’s possible until you take risks. If you would have told me when I first opened my shop that by April I would have a waiting list of commissions, I would have laughed in your face.  So I suppose at the end of the day, it’s really important to believe in yourself and just keep weaving. Oh, and never take yourself too seriously! Weaving is all about exploring different fibers and textures – it’s as much about the journey as it is about the final tapestry.

*Some photos featured in this post were taken by talented photographer Janique
Fortier, see her website here

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Weavings and Wall Hangings by Riel Finishings #weaving #wallhanging #moderndecor #homedecor #apartmenttherapy #wovenwallhangings #etsy #etsyfinds

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Artist Interview with Vera J. from Studio VerSie: Wall Hangings & Weavings

Wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

It is my pleasure to feature Vera Jonkers from the Studio VerSie Etsy shop in Delft, Netherlands who makes modern woven wall hangings! I hope you get some awesome wall decor ideas after reading this post!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into weaving? 

I’ve been a crafter for as long as I can remember. As a child I was always drawing, painting and making things. But it wasn’t until I got pregnant with my first child that I started gravitating towards yarn. I studied Architecture at the Technical University of Delft, but that didn’t result in a creative job. This creativity had to come out somehow, so I dabbled in a few creative hobbies, like knitting, crochet, painting and even screen printing. That’s when I discovered woven wall hangings in magazines, online and in stores, which sparked my interest towards weaving. It wasn’t until my husband coincidentally bought a loom for my daughter that I really started to pursue the idea of weaving. I started looking for tutorials online, stole my daughters loom and got started. It instantly got me addicted! I’ve been weaving almost every day for a year and half now and I love it. Finally, I have found something I am very passionate about.

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

What is the creative process like of creating one of your wall hangings? How long does it take to complete the entire process?

Most of the time it starts with me seeing something inspiring, like a combination of colors or an interesting pattern. This usually gives me a visual idea of something I could make. Then I will sit on it for a while to let the idea grow and take form. When I feel it’s time, I make a little sketch in my notebook and lately I even paint them. From there I start weaving. It usually takes me about a week to make the larger weavings.

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

How do you like to organize your studio/work space?

At the moment I have a temporary studio, but in a few months I’ll be moving and I’m so looking forward to that. I really love everything interior and I want my work space to be a happy place. I envision shelves filled with yarn, a large desk with a lot of space to weave and pack orders, a lot of light and inspiration on the walls.

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

Do you like to listen to music while creating? If so what artists or songs have been favorites lately?

I love listening to music. My taste is very diverse, it depends so much on my mood. Among my favourites are the soundtrack of the movie ‘Into the Wild’, the Common Linnets (Dutch) with ‘Calm After the Storm’ (you should really listen to that one!). One of my favourite songs is ‘Follow the Sun’ from Xavier Rudd. But I also love to listen to Dance music, from artists like Martin Garrix. You can find me dancing in my studio regularly!

What is life like in the Netherlands?

Besides the weather, I love living in the Netherlands. The people are fun and outgoing, the cities are filled with so much history. The Netherlands is a small country, but we are an innovative little bunch of people and I really appreciate being a part of that. There is one thing I miss though and that is mountains, it is so flat here. I guess that’s why we can basically live on our bicycles!

Woven wall hangings by Vera J. on EtsyWoven wall hangings by Vera J. on Etsy

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Learning to Weave


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