They are the creators, the dreamers and the ones that turn vision into reality. With daring, challenging and unique works of art, they pass on traditions long forgotten, bring back folklores of old and translate the past into timeless pieces that inspire. They are The Originals.
One of them is Gyda Kropff. A strong, kind-hearted woman who finds her roots in The Netherlands and whose aspiration lies in spiritual well-being, both for herself and her loved ones. Like a thread, the love for her children runs through her life. Purity, nature and human connection endlessly inspire her, and reflect upon Gyda’s works and designs.
“There’s always this one question: who are you and what will you and I do together in this life?”
As a little girl growing up in sleepy town, she could barely wait for the next sleep-over at her grandparents’ place. Not only because she was fond of them, but also because it was them who introduced her to all kinds of needlework. While girls her age would play hide and seek, knitting, crochet and embroidery were Gyda’s favorite ways to spend time. Highly focused, she could spend hours and hours trying to finish her French knitting piece, stitching as the world passed by. At the age of 6, she discovered the sewing machine and the boundless possibilities to dress up her dolls and Barbie’s with her creations. With creativity flowing through her veins, it’s no wonder it didn’t take long before she was sewing her own clothes. The colorful batiks she made always found a place to hang in her parents’ house, who encouraged their daughter and, with a sense of pride, witnessed the first steps of the artist Gyda would grow up to be.
“I was always creating something. That love has always been a part of me.”
After graduating high school in 1977, Gyda knew exactly where and what she wanted to study next. The Art Academy in The Hague, with its very own textile division. A surprising choice for a girl from Veenendaal, but proven to be the right one. Gyda:”I had the time of my life there, creating designs and doing monumental designing. My graduation project was inspired by the glass Rabobank building in Utrecht, which was new at the time. They loved it so much that all of my work was exhibited there and eventually bought by the bank itself. After graduating cum laude in 1984, they were my first clients.” But Gyda’s learning curve surely didn’t stop there, nor has it ever stopped. She got her Costumier degree in 1992, followed by a Certificate in Fashion Drawing two years later, all while doing projects for different clients. She designed greeting cards, gift wrap paper and participated in various international exhibitions and fairs. The biggest change in life though, was the birth of her children, Willem (Jr.) and Denise.
“They’ve learned from me, but even more so do I continue to learn from them, by life itself.”
“I was a fulltime mom and that was and is the most important task in life for me. Through my children, I continuously learn new things. About them, about me and about life. There’s nothing else in the world that teaches you those valuable lessons in the way a child teaches you. When both of them had turned 18, I looked back upon that first moment we met each other. When this little human being rests in your arms and you gaze upon each other, thinking ‘Who are you, and what will we do together in this life?’, ‘What’s the journey you and I will embark upon?’ and ‘What will I teach them, what’s important in life?’. And that’s what inspired me to come up with my own brand: FABEL.
Gyda had done a lot of projects for different companies, but always had the longing to create her own brand. No more using illustrations of other people, but designing her own works of art. FABEL, a brand inspired by the love for her children, slowly began to grow bigger than the journey she shared with them. It has brought her many beautiful, universal values, about love and human connection. At all times returning, was the same question she first asked herself with her newborn son staring into his mother’s eyes. Who are you, and what will you and I do together in this life?
“I decided to live my destiny, to choose freedom and creativity.”
While building her FABEL brand, the financial crisis pushed Gyda to continue working on other projects. Some of her biggest projects include designing stationaries and prints for the Marjolein Bastin illustrations, collections for Accessorize, Room 7, Hello Kitty and AT HOME, as well as a 5 year employment as Hallmark Cards’ in-house designer. Thankful for a solid income, but missing the creative freedom and inspiration she craved so much, she booked a trip to the Sinai desert in Egypt. Staying in a thatched hut with no one around, by the Gulf of Aqaba, became a life-changing experience for her. Gyda:”I was one with nature, there was no one else. There, it was all and nothing. I took a lot of photographs during that trip and was inspired like never before. Right there, I decided to quit my job at Hallmark, start to live my destiny and start choosing and discovering. Lose the straight jacket and take back my freedom and creativity. Once I got home I created mood boards of my journey to NUWEIBA, and they’ve been an inspiration to me since.”
“On my travels, I take pictures of everything that inspires me, to turn it into a collection.”
Her trip to Egypt was 9 years ago, and in the meantime she continues to travel. Armed with her camera, she took shots of everything in the world that inspired her. Patterns, colors and designs, but even more were it the people she met and the different cultures they had, that triggered her mind. It became her dream to connect nature and culture, and combine them into beautiful products you want to take home. It all looked set and several companies were interested in the collection that Gyda had created. But then her son Willem needed her help in his career as a DJ, producer and record label owner in the electronic dance music scene. In three years’ time, she helped build his musical career by setting up the international organization and brand direction for his Headhunterz alias and HARD with STYLE record label, entering a completely different world. And that’s exactly what kept her going – the connection between those different worlds. Design and conceptual art meets music, and two target groups meet. “Bridging those worlds is what I love doing” says Gyda.
“I want it to be about respecting nature, the source of all things.”
Now is the time for Gyda to finally start telling her story. Hot off an intense Dutch Design training in Green & Fair, she’s found exactly what drives her. Gyda:”Beautiful collaborations, co-creation, corporate social responsibility, respecting nature, the source from which we are all connected, from which we find inspiration.”
Fabel Collection hand embroidered by Gyda can be seen from the 15th of July at Gather, Grote Houtstraat 70 in Haarlem. www.thisisgather.com
We are proud to announce that the collection will be available for sale by the end of September 2016 at our web shop !