Mother Of Invention

Model and creative Soesja Leugs chats to us about the joys of living in Amsterdam and how motherhood has brought yet new dimensions to her bountiful creativity.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do
I work as a model and creative. I love how my work allows me to collaborate with so many different yet authentic brands, it’s never boring and brings out the best of me. 

Where in the world is home to you?
Amsterdam, although I now live 10 minutes’ outside of the city. I lived in the city for 12 years and moving out has been wonderful due to the beautiful building I now call home, which used to be a perfume factory in the 1920s.

What makes this corner of the world unique? 
I have really learned (with the years) to appreciate how well we have it here in the Netherlands. Especially when you have a child, our social structure is really strong and sends a lifeline to those who need it. Spring and summer are my favourite seasons here and I rarely leave the country during those months, but winter is definitely a month to travel and search for warmer places to commute.

“Colour is such a big part of our life and it unknowingly speaks to our psyche. It’s the way in which our brain translates light..”

What are your favourite local spots to seek out nature?
Het Twiske – a mountain bike, walk and swim paradise just under the radar of Amsterdam. With a cute little organic farm, pancake restaurant and a huge open playground this is where all families love to go during sunny weekends. Jo really loves the windmill and the animals on the farm. Since he doesn’t go to school yet, we go on the slow hours and have the whole area to ourselves.

Are there any themes that you keep coming back to in your creative work? 
I studied the language of colour in my 20s and it will forever be something I consciously work with. It really doesn’t matter if it comes through art, interiors or fashion. Colour is such a big part of our life and it unknowingly speaks to our psyche. When you understand it’s the way in which our brain translates light, you learn how much power it holds. 

How has becoming a mother informed your work?
Honestly, the first year I didn’t have much time for my own creativity. But this year I’m really inspired to get back at it. Motherhood has taught me so many life lessons and I can’t wait to see what it brings to the table of creation. 

What things do you love most about being a mother?
How it encourages me to grow as a person and how it makes me want to be the best version of myself. I’ve really learned the hard way that everything starts with me. If I nurture my own needs and take care of myself, I have so much more to give to others. I also love how Jonah opens my eyes to the wonders of the world of a two year old. It brings back the magic in life that adulthood unconsciously can take away.

What are your favourite things to do with your son?
We looooove to dance! As a kid I was always dancing and I have been doing this with him since he was a baby. Including awkward mini performances he as a baby really enjoyed. My Indonesian roots also bring quality family meal time to the table. We love exploring different tastes and flavours.

Do you have any rituals for creativity?
When we are moody we dance, when it’s raining we paint and when we’re sad or sick we make nourishing food. I think creativity is being flexible with everything life gives us. How to handle our emotions in a constructive way is a very accurate lesson as a toddler but doesn’t get old as a grown-up. I love how we are each other’s teachers. His world of imagination is definitely a great source of creativity on a daily basis. 

What are you most looking forward to this season? 
I can’t wait for springtime because that means me and Jo can go out for adventures outdoors. Watching flowers bloom, butterflies fly and feeling the medicine of sunshine. As a spring child, I really love flowers and have to surround myself with them all year round. They just bring life to my mini universe I call home. 

How does nature or the wild inspire you and your daily life?
Spring definitely brings colour to my wardrobe. I unintentionally really dress for the seasons. In winter and fall, it’s warm earthy tones but when spring hits it flowy dresses and mixing colour like a wild spring bouquet.

How do you create an inspiring creative space
Interiors have been such a focus the past six months since I moved. The art of feng shui really speaks to me and of course the use of colour brings such a mood. The first plans I made when I got my new home was lighting. The apartment had huge windows so a sea of natural light during the day. I’m most creative at night, so setting the right mood with candles and mood lighting was such an important part for me. 

"I really love flowers and have to surround myself with them all year round. I love magnolia flowers...They are a prophecy of spring! "

What is your favourite room and objects in your home?
I have a few favourite corners. My dressoir and art wall are coming together at the moment and it’s such a pleasure to see.  My collection of vintage items is so unique to me. They make it a home. My favourite design item is my Robuust Amsterdam canopy bed. It’s so timeless, elegant and cosy. This is also the first home where I really took the time and effort to create the ultimate warm nest in my bedroom.

Where do you look to for interior inspiration?
For me a home is a collection of items that tell something about the person (or people) that live there. In our case me and my son. I have so many different interests but most of them will be easy to spot in our home. I also love the challenge of making a home warm and child-friendly while also being aesthetic. 

What or who inspires you most?
I love how cultures express themselves through art. I’m really into art that has been made with ancient knowledge and history. In my kitchen I decorated a wall with Indonesian weaved baskets and wall art. The kitchen is a sacred place for my Indonesian roots so I really wanted to celebrate that part of me in the interior’s art as well. 

What are your favourite flowers?
I love magnolia flowers very specifically during their first bloom when it’s just the flowers in the trees. They are a prophecy of spring! Such a feel-good moment for me every year. My mom who has a magical garden always brings me branches around that time of the year. But her dahlias at the end of summer are also very much like fireworks to me! 

Follow Soesja’s creative journey @soesja_leugs

Images: 1. Lieke Romeijn, 2. Soesja x The Animal Observatory by Annewil Hokken, 3.“Siberia” by Soesja, 4. Soesja x The Animal Obsetvatory by Annewil Hokken, 5. Soesja x POSSE by Dennis Swiatkowski, 6. Soesja BTS Artipoppe, 7. Soesja x Artipoppe by Paul Bellaart, 8. Spectrum “Unity” by Soesja, 9. By Lieke Romeijn

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