Sep 3, 2013

Upcycling workshop in Hamburg

We finally have the internet in our new apartment in Berlin, so I could tackle the task of going through all the pictures from my first big diy workshop in Hamburg. I won a spot in this Workshop with Eco-Designer Julia Starp which was hosted by Otto, an online-shop for fashion, furniture & more. We were supposed to send in a picture of an accesoire item that was upcycled/recycled & I applied with my Crochet VHS-Tape Clutch.

I arrived in Hamburg a day before the workshop to spend some quality time with my aunt. We had a lovely afternoon at a spa, which was well needed after all the moving stress. The hotel provided by Otto was also a nice change to the empty rooms of our new place and the blanket on the floor as a "bed" for the first days.
I got to know a few of the other participants during breakfast the next day mostly talking about the upcycled item each submitted. Things got more interesting in the taxi on our way to Otto where we discussed the diy movement, eco friendly facebook sites like "Verschenks" and other ways to contribute to work against todays throw-away and buy-new society.
Copyright by Otto
This huge poster was our material to sew with that weekend. Instead of throwing them away these posters are given to eco designer Julia Starp to design upcycled bags and accessoires. She was present herself to teach and support us to sew and create new objects based on her designs.
Copyright by Otto
Copyright by Otto
We were dropped off at one of the warehouses on Otto's huge premises in Hamburg. Each participant got his own working space with a sewing machine and sewing tools. After a short introduction about the company, the designer and the cause we began sewing our first bag for a cell phone. It was a simple design for the start to get a feel for the material, which was much thicker than what I would usually sew with. I was actually surprised to see that we would be working with normal sewing machines because of the sort of material we're using. The only problem was if you made a mistake it took much more time to release the seams again and the material would show needle holes along the seam.
Copyright by Otto
Craft and sewing supplies were provided by Julia herself. They made a crafters heart skip a beat.
Copyright by Otto
Parts of the poster, already butchered by busy crafter bees.
Copyright by
Copyright by Otto
Copyright by Otto
After finishing the cell phone bag we could choose from various bag designs to make our very own. I sat with a couple of girls deciding on the same bag so we could compare progress and work together. We actually changed the design a bit to make it more simple to sew. For example we figured out a way to leave out a few parts of the bag to avoid sewing together more than three layers of the material. The sewing machine thanked us for that!

Here's my design of the bag on the left. The decorative seams holds an inside pocket in place and the Frankenskulls seemed like an appropriate finish for the seams.

Here's a part of the poster I took out to make a tablet cover for the future husband.
Copyright by Otto
Copyright by Otto
Lisa was one of the participants who also worked on the same bag design and since we were both from Berlin we shared a compartement in the train back home. She is the owner of Leesha Design where she sells handmade products made eco friendly from second hand or spare materials. The products are produced in social facilities like sheltered workshops, penitentiaries and intigration institutions. Lisa is my age and she does this project on the side. Don't I feel pathetic with my feeble little blog here.

Anyways, look at all the bags that were produced by 10 people in one day:
Copyright by Otto

Considering 10 people sewing about 30 bags in approximately 8 hours the price for one bag would be more than 25€. This price doesn't consider the material and tools used or the rent for the facility or insurance, transport cost et.cetera. A lot to consider next time that 10€ bag looks like a good deal. It is, but only for your wallet.

Here's what I made:

Sorry for the picture overflow, but there were about one hundred to choose from and I want to share all the awesomeness.
Thank you Otto & Julia Starp for this super fun workshop and for choosing me to participate in it. Now that I'm in Berlin permanetly I would like to attend more workshops, for example in the Dawanda Snuggery. I'll keep you updated on that as well.

You can read more about this workshop and its cause on the Otto Blog, this news site, and on Utopia here and here.

This post will be part of Nina's Upcycling Tuesday and the Creadienstag.


  1. Toller Bericht, geniale Idee.
    Leider ist mein Englisch semi-gut. Wie bist du auf den Workshop gekommen? Als Fast-Hamburgerin hätte ich auch Interesse an sowas.
    LG Katrin

    1. Ich hab den gewonnen! Es gab auf Facebook ein Gewinnspiel wo man ein Foto von einem upgecycelten Accessoire einschicken musste und ich hatte meine gehäkelte Clutch aus VHS-Band ins Rennen geschickt.
      Vielleicht gibt es sowas in Zukunft ja nochmal!

      Liebe Grüße zurück aus der Hauptstadt ;)


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