My name is Ronald Ceuppens. I was born 42 years ago in a small village called Zemst-Laar, which is located about 20 minutes from Brussels. I live with my partner and our two dogs in Tremelo, Belgium. I’ve been an independent artist for 12 years. I make objects and graphic art, and have exhibitions all over the place.
A couple of years ago I discovered Etsy via a friend. At that time, I was looking for a way to reach out to people who loved my work but could not afford an original piece of art. I feel art should be part of everyone’s life, and available for everyone to buy. I started making small original etchings and opened an Etsy shop in 2009 called Fleurografie.
Around the same time, I was been searching for a bag and rucksacks to carry around my stuff. I deliberately have no driver’s license – I use public transportation or a bike. I needed some nice looking bags to carry along with me, but could not find what I was looking for in shops or on the Internet.
I decided to make them myself. I looked for materials I thought were interesting and lasting. I found some antique linen in a store in Austria and waxed leather at a local leather supplier. The combination was beautiful! I made several bags for my own use, not intending to sell them, but I got so many positive comments and requests from people – even on the street – that I decided to do something. And so Treesizeverse was born.
When you work from your home studio, it can sometimes be pretty lonely. During those times it’s nice to browse Etsy and discover the most amazing stuff that people all over the globe are making. It also gives me a sense of belonging. I’m part of a group of creative minds; I feel there is no competition, and that’s what I like so much. Everyone is doing their own thing.
I don’t like supermarkets and large stores. I feel you get more for your money when you buy local and homemade stuff. It’s better quality, in general, and it also gives you a sense of being part of a community. I try to use products that have been made with respect for the environment and have a soul of beauty.
I feel that owning something beautiful can give you a special feeling. It reminds you to escape the ordinary and see the beauty in small things. Say you visit a farmers market with a beautiful bag; it adds to the way you experience the market. That’s why I choose materials that are not only beautiful, but also become more beautiful with use.
Before I studied art, I took a classical tailoring course; it gave me insight into how a garment and other fabric objects are made. To me, this is the essence of craftsmanship: knowing your limitations, and working with your boundaries to achieve beautiful results with simple designs.
I feel we can learn a lot from older craftsmen who have years of experience. For me, challening myself to learn and produce better things, educating myself, and passing on knowledge is my life’s goal.
All photographs by Treesizeverse.