Hélène Mulder, initiator Creators Chambers
In a leap of faith, Hélène Mulder started her fashion boutique at 30, after realizing law and accounting firms were not her thing. In no time she built a loyal clientele and immersed herself in photography, and in graphic and web design. After her move to Belgium she took on a fascinating job with Axel & May Vervoordt, managing one of their monumental properties in ‘s Gravenwezel. There she came in contact with craftsmen, their skills and knowledge. A significant encounter with the magic of hands.
How did Creators Chambers come into being?
To be honest, Creators Chambers originated from a personal struggle. Launching a clothing label on my own on a limited budget turned out to be lonely and difficult. Befriended artisans encountered identical problems. Making beautiful, one-of-a-kind items and then running into a wall… The idea came to collaborate, to unite forces. It seemed to me a more meaningful approach to give attention to the creators instead of to their products. Back to the source, back to the creator to reveal her motives, his creative processes, her story. To create an engaged audience from a network of like-minded people. Towards greater awareness of crafts, more appreciation for handwork, more customer tailored projects. Creators Chambers was born.
I discovered that meeting so many talents, writing about them and filming them, offers depth and connection, which – for me – turned out to be more fulfilling than making one-of-a-kind clothes. Making short films has been a dream all my life, which I did not pursue because I convinced myself I needed years of education to do so. Thanks to technology I can film and edit with my phone. Doing it my way, learning by trial and error. Life has its twists.
What attracts your attention?
Oh my, what does not? I am sensitive to atmosphere, harmony, energy, a sucking sponge of sound, smell, a voice, tension, softness, light, colour, a laugh, silence, hands. I filter a lot in order not to be constantly overstimulated. Strangely, I don’t have any hobbies. I am quickly bored with repetitions, but fortunately I never gét bored.
What makes me tick, is another matter of course. Uniqueness, craftsmanship, cultural customs, art, symbolism, monuments, walled cities. Aesthetics with a story. I can lose myself in very strange subjects like coats of arms, black horses and knight movies. Historical films, costume dramas, documentaries. I also have a weakness for people who take a leap of faith. Doing against all odds.
I like uninhabited paths in the woods, or in the snow. Where no one has walked yet. The hard laws of nature and her stunning beauty. And I pay attention to my intuition. I am grateful when I get into a bubble of concentration, focusing on what gets my attention at that moment. I lose time, forgetting “me”. Actually there are many things that catch my attention. I have to be grasped, it’s not possible to put it in a fixed frame.
Print by Ans Markus | Portrait of Bob Oosthoek
You have a legal background. You seem a long way from home with what you’re doing right now.
Yes, I am! I worked as a lawyer in the Netherlands. Large consultancy firms with long corridors and closed doors gave me a suppressed feeling, I couldn’t breathe. By nature I am quite shy but in that circle I really wanted to make myself invisible.
I feel at home in an environment of art and history. I am at ease when surrounded by authentic and eccentric minds. Very comfortable behind the camera, I wish to use my senses, intuition and story-telling to bring them into the spotlight, to evoke emotions and create a sense of wonder.
The creative path is engraved in my dna. My grandfather Bob Oosthoek was actor and director at the Royal Theatre in The Hague. A beautiful, tall man who was killed during World War II. A courageous man, who put others before himself. My grandmother Hélène Oosthoek-Zoetmulder performed the classics on stage and solo-acted several characters with handmade masks. My father was an interior and fashion designer, my mother had a gallery of modern art in her early years and later collected antique toys. She shared her collection in the Toy-Toy Museum in Rotterdam. My brother Neville Mars is an architect in Shanghai, writes books and is a talented speaker. I wouldn’t dare to set foot on stage. Acute panic! I feel more like a director than an actor.
What or who gets you out of your comfort zone?
Height. And being in the spotlight. I shrink. While deep inside, of course, I want recognition for my work and want to be seen. To be seen for what my talents enable me to do. With my perfectionist character I think it’s never good enough. A lot of things end up in the wastebasket, which is a pitty. I still have to learn to welcome my creativity and not to judge too quickly. Leave things for a while and sleep on them. Letting go and reviewing or reading again. Be nicer to myself. To look at myself with softer glasses, the way I look at my son and his beautiful drawings.
What is your aim for now?
I love people who dare to show their true selves, who dare to be open about their struggles and victories. Who have the courage to take off their masks and show what they’re made of. My aim is to share their stories and help them get visible. To shed light on their being, their knowledge, their talents and noble work. I want to connect, feel connected and make others feel valued.
What I experience in the other, teaches me a lot. Via the other person, I get to know myself better, becoming more accepting and gentle. A continuous learning process…
Hélène Mulder’s recommendations:
- Do not postpone what you wish to do. Do not assume you are unable to do or create anything before you tried first. Essential! And don’t forget to do terrifying stuff…
- Visit as many museums and galleries as possible. Make sure to go to Axel Vervoordt’s Gallery in Antwerpen, Wijnegem and make an appointment for a guided tour.
- Chromaphilia, The Story of Color in Art. Stella Paul unlocks the secrets of colour. Learn how and why it has been used in art over the centuries.
- Dressing The Soul, Ageless Beauty by Brigitta de Vos: “A publication about my love for the just being of things. The humble, silent and simple become pieces of art with nature as the artist. The wabi sabi state of things inspires me to create my own art pieces”, says Brigitta de Vos on her website. Each book comes with a unique and personal key to achieve ageless beauty.
Hélène Mulder, Antwerp Belgium
initiator Creators Chambers
content creation, storytelling & webdesign
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