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 — 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.
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.
“ 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!
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.
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
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.
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?
Best book you've read in the past year?
Tülin Erkan – De honingeter
What is your favourite distraction?
Getting a massage.