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#rueblancheportraits

A series of conversations with friends and customers of Rue Blanche who inspire us in the way they dress, live and look at the world. 


Laura Geurten

Laura Geurten — by training an illustrator, now a sourdough baker — is a partner in Lina’s Bakery in the Muizenstraat in Antwerp. When we meet in her apartment, two-year old Leda is looking at us with a calm and careful focus. The eclectic mix of books, objects and paintings that Laura and her partner Gavin collected over the years add a touch of extravagance to the otherwise minimal living space. As the afternoon passes, we discuss Laura’s inspirations, the relevance of rest, working with one’s hands and self-care.



Photography © Mieke Verbijlen



Can you describe your home? 

Our home is the place where our family can be together. I think both Gavin and I always strived for a cosy place, but we differ in our need for visual minimalism (laughs). Gavin runs Aboli Bibelot, an antiques shop in Antwerp's Muntstraat. He has a great eye for peculiar and sometimes just plain weird objects with a unique story or past. As you can imagine, he enjoys nothing better than to display his favourite objects at home too. And although he has exquisite taste, I do sometimes have to restrain him a bit. 

A selection of objects and artworks in Laura Geurten’s living room © Mieke Verbijlen

Leda in living room © Mieke Verbijlen 

Do you have a daily routine?

Yes, I am a parent! I’m kidding of course. I cannot function when my home is messy, so I vacuum and tidy the entire house every day. And there’s also my morning run. 

The best souvenir you brought home? 

A wooden box we found in France.

The best gift you've ever received? 

A handmade doll for Leda from my friend and artist Geran Knol.

What is the item you will never part with?

The speculaasplanken I used to make gifts – biscuits – when Leda was born.

Geurten’s favourite gift, a handmade doll by artist Geran Knol © Mieke Verbijlen  (Laura wears cotton-wool trousers, merino wool sweater, mohair socks and red wool hat.)

“ For me, a twenty cent 

flea market find can 

be invaluable. ”

Geurten’s favourite souvenir, gift, album, book and object  © Mieke Verbijlen

How does your daily life influence the way you dress and has it changed over time?

Funnily enough, since giving birth I have been steadily integrating colour into my wardrobe. One day I suddenly felt the irrepressible urge to buy a pair of bright orange trousers I had spotted in a shop window in town. You have to remember I only wore black, dark blue or white before. When I got home, Gavin was stunned. And have you heard of the stereotypical new mum that never pampers herself? Guess what? Completely true! And as a baker, convenient and slouchy dressing was already a thing for me. I do feel that I am starting to miss focusing on myself again. Clothes can be powerful! 

Geurten with daughter Leda  © Mieke Verbijlen (Laura wears cotton-wool trousers and cotton shirt.)

What is essential for you in the way you dress? 

My clothes should be comfortable.

Which garment from the collection is on your wish list? 

The brown alpaca polo sweater and the black corduroy trousers with the buttons on the side.

Who do you think has great style? 

Laila Gohar 

Wool-mix blazer and alpaca waistcoat  © Mieke Verbijlen

How important is a job to you?

Although significant, I am not a slave to my work. I just really like doing what I do. I am proud of what Lina’s Bakery stands for. We exclusively bake sourdough bread and almost everything is done manually. I am also proud that we would never throw anything in the bin and we always donate leftovers to local food distribution centers.  

What is the place you can't wait to return to? 

Lille bakery in Copenhagen 

Who do you admire? 

Lexie Smith. I admire her talent to express her art through bread.

What's the last recipe you tried? 

Pineapple and passion fruit pavlova for Leda's first birthday.

Geurten at work © Mieke Verbijlen (Laura wears cashmere sweater.)

Geurten in front of Lina's Bakery with regular Chicago © Mieke Verbijlen (Laura wears wool-mix coat, cashmere sweater and wool-mix roll neck.)

What do you like to surround yourself with?

I like to surround myself with peace, peaceful people and beautiful objects. Money doesn't influence me. For me a 20 cent fleamarket find can be invaluable.

Which artist/s do you admire? 

Tal R, Mamma Andersson, Philip Guston, Raoul De Keyser and Francis Alÿs. 

What was the last exhibition you went to? 

Ines Van Den Kieboom at Aboli Bibelot

Geurten's living room © Mieke Verbijlen 

“ I feel I am starting to miss focusing on myself again. Clothes can be  powerful! ”

A painting by Ines Van Den Kieboom © Mieke Verbijlen 

Leda in the living room © Mieke Verbijlen 

How do you keep yourself centred?

I try to keep my evenings calm and my routines also help me. I have a good intuitive connection with my boundaries. It’s vital for me to be in touch with my needs.

What inspires you in people?

Modesty. I have a soft spot for people who can show attention to detail and can appreciate the little things in life. 

Geurten in her living room © Mieke Verbijlen (Laura wears wool-mix trousers, wool-mix roll neck, polyester shirt and mohair socks.)

What do you like about your city? 

I like the fact that you can get around Antwerp by bike. A big city like London or Paris would attract me much less. The longer you live in Antwerp, the more it shows itself to be a warm little village. You also have many beautiful buildings and streets here.

What was the last music you bought? 

Croatian Amor — Remember Rainbow Bridge

What is your favourite magazine? 

Apartemento

Best book you've read in the past year? 

Tülin Erkan – De honingeter

What is your favourite distraction? 

Getting a massage.

Geurten in her living room © Mieke Verbijlen (Laura wears cotton-wool trousers, merino wool sweater, mohair socks and red wool hat.)

Geurten's living room © Mieke Verbijlen 

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