Ritual Designer & Artist
Iris is a natural creative entrepreneur with golden hands. Started as a gifted stylist with a strong foresight, she became an illusive artist and spiritual mother of a renown brand in handcrafted ritual design & art. Now based in her ‘soul farm’ in Spain she creates a visually unique and opulent universe in which she shares her love for life with the world, not just to beautify but to enlighten and help her collectors and buyers to symbolize and ritualize their milestones in life. Please feel welcome and inspired at the online realm of Iris.
Early years 1975 – 1993
At the age of fourteen Iris Tonies was already selling her art at local fairs; training her entrepreneurial muscles at an early age. At home she became familiar with many craft and art techniques and styles. She managed to get through school by redesigning it to her creative needs.
A fascination for folkore 1993 – 1997
Her early career started as a stylist. After being trained at renowned agency Kamer 465 in Amsterdam she designed furniture as a freelancer and as head design of one of Hollands largest furniture builders. Iris learned to develop and use her eye for trends and the future of design. During her interior stylist years there was a growing wish to conceptualize more profoundly and work more autonomously as a business woman and artist.
Meanwhile she traveled India and South eastern Asia discovering a rich folkloric aesthetic and the natural embrace of ritual in everyday life. This has been continuing to inspire her throughout her career.
Deepening the Path 1997 – 2003
After a few sold out shows and fun inspiring years as an interior designer in Holland Iris decided to take a next step in reinforcing her coming of age as a visual artist. On the large playground and overlap between art & design she shifted her interest more towards the arts and decided to attend art school in Utrecht, but not after a blissful hippy-style sailing adventure around the Mediterranean with her future husband, creative entrepreneur Arnout Krediet.
Transformation of time and space 2003 – 2008
During six months on board an 8 meter boat is when the dedication of time and the restriction of physical space became the fascinating limits to experiment with scale and material repetition. In art school this transformation of materials into strong engaging concepts became a second nature. Her first son was born and grew up in a playpen in the shared students atelier. Right after art school she was picked for various shows launching her name as an artist.
Also right after art school Iris moved to live on S/Y Melquiades, a 1962 Ketch with a high level of ‘The Thunderbirds’ design. The interior of the ship was largely rebuild according to her designs. Finding the perfect floating surroundings for her ship she then sailed to Barcelona and moored in the ancient harbor downtown. The outsiders community she found there confirmed the conviction that living outside the beaten track is a matter of choice.
Leading by Example 2008 – 2013
The following 11 years she would lead a studio art program (Estudio Nómada) in the city centre of Barcelona, growing a global family of artists. She took Barcelona by storm, showing her work in the CCCB and in a large installation in the Museo Maritimo. Her seconds sons first weeks were spend in the museum watching the construction of a giant sculpture made out of 500.000 popsickle sticks. The interest from Holland remained where she joined various shows in the ever shining twilight between art & design.
Soul Farm Mas els Igols 2013 – now
In 2013 Iris scaled up her habitat. She bought a giant farm moving from a compact 30 m² living surface on her live-a-board to a 1000 m² winefarm in the Penedès. The multiplied scale she found in the farm was a natural step to a space where she could emit and experiment with her feeling for home design and lifestyle. The Spanish light and a growing love for ceramics moved her work towards a greater intimacy and ritualistic appreciation. The artist hotel situated in a green ocean of grapes ran alongside the art program of Estudio Nómada and accelerated her role as matriarch of a thriving art community.
Meanwhile the wine farm Mas els Igols turned into a ‘Soul Farm’ where Iris’ work can be experienced in engaging ritual-based installations.
The Shape of Loss 2015
Her third son passed away at the age of half a year. This tragic episode fueled a deep and intimate artistic flow. Iris’ answer to mourning was a massive creative wave. The lush folkloric ritual design that emerged from the sadness was the assimilation of her ideas, skills, concepts and an intrinsic sense of sharing life. A positive choice for life as she had always done and with the wish to help others feel the same positive approach to all that life brings.
Establishing a Brand
Her fourth son growing up happily among the vineyards, she showed her work at one of Hollands most renowned interior designers and florists, Menno Kroon, and her work was acquired by famous ceramic collectors like Thierry Boutemy and high-end designers setting her star among the design icons from the Netherlands.