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FROM BASIC SEWING SKILLS TO PATTERN MAKING — DESIGN YOUR OWN PIECES WITH BERLIN-BASED FASHION LABEL AND ART COLLECTIVE UY

FROM BASIC SEWING SKILLS TO PATTERN MAKING — DESIGN YOUR OWN PIECES WITH BERLIN-BASED FASHION LABEL AND ART COLLECTIVE UY

When I bought my first sewing machine at 18, I was firmly convinced that I would one day follow in the footsteps of iconic fashion designers such as Margiela or Saint Laurent. I can no longer make sense of what I was thinking — at that age, no star was too high to reach for and so I began, unselfconsciously and naively, to try my hand at creating my first piece. After a few rather unsuccessful attempts, parties, boys and lots of drama followed, and so my sewing machine disappeared for ten years, dusty and unused on my infamous “I tried (but failed)” shelf. But I could never quite let go of the idea. I regained some hope when I found by chance, in November last year (2023), that UY offers a monthly sewing workshop. UY is a Berlin fashion label and art collective founded in 2013. They have made it their mission to help people listen to their bodies and break free from conventions — no matter what gender, sexuality, ethnicity, place of origin, size or age. A hybrid place has been created here over the years, where global meets local and clothing can be cozy and edgy at the same time, but above all, it is a place for liberation and expression of raw beauty.

At their in-house studio, you can take part in a four-week workshop where you will learn the basics of sewing — by machine and by hand — and design your own piece to take home at the end of the four sessions. From using different types of fabric, measuring correctly, and understanding the machines to basic pattern making and designing your own piece, Sarah and Lani will guide you through all the important first steps you need to feel confident enough to unpack your own sewing machine at home. All materials for the exercises are provided, and you’ll of course be allowed to choose the perfect fabric for your own piece. As the groups are limited to four people, even a sewing novice like me will get enough support and attention to succeed. If you still want more after the beginner’s course, or you’re already above a basic sewing level, then take the intermediate course: here you will work on expanding your knowledge and developing your designs, with a focus on pattern-making. At the end of the workshop, I left the studio with two pieces — my 18-year-old self would be proud of me, and my dusty sewing machine is also looking forward to seeing the light of day.

Text & Photos: Robyn Steffen

UY Studio, Pflügerstr.11, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Find upcoming workshops here.

@uy.studio

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ONE STUDIO, TWO PROFESSIONALS AND LOTS OF EXERCISE: FEEL THE BARRE STUDIO IN THE BÖTZOW DISTRICT

ONE STUDIO, TWO PROFESSIONALS AND LOTS OF EXERCISE: FEEL THE BARRE STUDIO IN THE BÖTZOW DISTRICT

“Are you ready to feel the barre?” — These are the words that greet you as you enter the doors of the new loft-like Barre Studio. Wondering what barre is? The term describes the horizontal bar that ballet dancers train with. This barre is used in many classes at the Feel the Barre studio. The classes are designed as full-body and muscle endurance training and are intended to strengthen the body in a way that few workouts can. Benefits include muscle strengthening, core stability, increased flexibility and endurance, improved posture, and much more. And though the association with ballet may sound demanding, barre is quite beginner-friendly and can be adapted to different ability levels. If you’re still not sure whether barre is for you, then I can only advise you to give it a try at this studio. It was founded by Michael Byrne, originally from London, and his partner Fabian, from Berlin.

Michael is a trained dancer and has worked in show business for many years, including ten years as dance captain for Starlight Express and as a choreographer for Helene Fischer. He then decided to study again and is now an ICF-accredited business coach. Fabian is also a trained dancer and worked as a coach at Flying Steps for ten years. Together, the two have built a community of almost 12,000 members worldwide during the pandemic with online HIIT and barre classes. With the end of the pandemic, the desire to offer a real place to find community became even greater, and this became possible in November 2023 with Feel the Barre Studio. I tried out the Signature Class, which combines all courses into one, and it was an excellent experience. Michael and Fabian take what they do very seriously, without taking themselves too seriously! In other words, you can expect to be challenged and encouraged, but at the same time made to feel welcome and hopefully, like me, have a lot of fun! If you’d like to take part in a barre class, you can take advantage of the 2-for-1 welcome offer. On to the barre!

Text & Photos: Luna Schaffron

Feel the Barre, Bötzowstr.26, 10407 Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map

@feelthebarre

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CRAFTSMANSHIP, ART AND DESIGN COMBINED: STUDIO JUMI

CRAFTSMANSHIP, ART AND DESIGN COMBINED: STUDIO JUMI

Strict lines and grids combined with soft materials, in playful, almost meditative rhythms — no one else interprets hand weaving as beautifully and poetically as Studio Jumi. Jumi is Julia Buntzel and Miriam Rose Gronwald – the artist duo joined forces in 2022 to work together at the intersection of art, craft and design, and to campaign for the preservation of traditional hand weaving. But they even go one step further. Breaking away from conventions without breaking sacred traditions, Jumi shows how weaving can be a fine art. Inspired by the Bauhaus and its textile workshops — where artists such as Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl and Otti Berger combined the craft of hand weaving with the language of modern art — Julia and Miriam draw on their knowledge while simultaneously searching for new possibilities and pushing the boundaries of weaving by dissolving and condensing woven fabric structures. In doing so, they ultimately create unique works of art, fragments, forms and materials. Jumi aims to keep the history of weaving alive with commissioned works, site-specific pieces and small limited editions (here too, each piece remains unique). They also host regular weaving workshops in their studio.

In the “Sketching with Yarn” workshop, you spend an afternoon weaving different materials, textures and colors on a four-shaft loom to create your very own textile. In the “Napkins! The Art of Handcrafted Table Weaves” workshop, you can even make your own set of (up to four) table napkins over a weekend. It feels magical to go home with two of your own textile patterns without having any prior weaving knowledge. In the end, there’s only one thing left to say: thank you. Thank you for making textile art so exciting and accessible, thank you for showing us how things can be reinterpreted without sacrificing tradition, and thank you, Julia and Miriam, for ensuring such a beautiful craft will not be forgotten.

Text: Robyn Steffen / Photos: Chiara Lüghausen, Jean-Paul Pastor Guzmán, Robyn Steffen

Studio Jumi, Seelenbinderstr.141, 12555 Berlin–Köpenick; map
Find out more about the next workshops here

@studio.jumi

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IT’S A MATCH: LEARN “TENNIS FROM SCRATCH” WITH THE BEYOND BERLIN

IT’S A MATCH: LEARN “TENNIS FROM SCRATCH” WITH THE BEYOND BERLIN

Love iconic sports halls? Always wanted to learn how to play tennis? With charming coaches, Misha and Ieva, from The Beyond Berlin, you’ll learn how to skillfully switch between forehand and backhand, play your first rally, and (almost) always hit the ball in Berlin’s oldest sports hall on Columbiadamm. And all without any elitist posturing. Never held a tennis racket before? Don’t worry! In the “Tennis from Scratch” class, you can learn the basics of tennis in a relaxed atmosphere, even if you don’t have a racket or suitable indoor shoes. For a small rental fee, the “Berliner Turngemeinde” will provide you with all the equipment you need for your tennis lessons. Give tennis a go with The Beyond’s open-minded and welcoming community and take on a new challenge — whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced player. Depending on your experience level, you can choose between different classes such as “Tennis from Scratch”, “Cardio Tennis” or “Let’s Rally”. You’ll learn the basics of movement, how to put your existing tennis knowledge into practice, how to control the court with confidence, how to improve your skills, and, above all, how to have fun playing. Every week, choose between various courses and put together your training plan. Being a beginner has never been so fun!

Text & Photos: Natascha Hamel

The Beyond Berlin, Columbiadamm 111, 10965 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Book a class here.

@thebeyond.berlin

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FINNISH SAUNA FOR ENTHUSIASTS: THE OLIVIN SAUNA SPA AT PFEFFERBERG

FINNISH SAUNA FOR ENTHUSIASTS: THE OLIVIN SAUNA SPA AT PFEFFERBERG

Take a plunge and escape the cold, your everyday routine, and gloomy headspace. Head over to Pfefferberg! Established in 2005, tucked away in an unsuspecting backyard, there’s a sauna crafted by enthusiasts for those looking to break a sweat: Olivin. The creators call it a “Wellness Lounge”, but you’d likely consider it more of a “Sauna Spa”. Details aside, what’s important is this: it’s a classic sauna that’s still a bit of a hidden gem. In Olivin, you’ll find all of the sauna essentials: a spacious Finnish sauna overlooking not an olive grove, but a bamboo garden. And an outdoor area with a fountain, shower, plunge pool, and heated lounge chairs. But what sets it apart is the team, who put genuine care into making your sauna experience special. Every full hour includes 10-15 minute infusion rituals with 100% pure essential oils, poured three times. Depending on the team member, a clean and simple single scent may be infused, or an aromatic journey that varies with the time of day and season. Here’s a teaser of a hopefully-not-feeling-under-the-weather-season (aka winter) infusion: from spruce (anti-inflammatory and respiratory) to fennel (relaxing and soothing) to lemon (immune-boosting). A sauna session isn’t just great for the body — it works wonders for frazzled nerves too, especially when guided by scents like patchouli (grounding), nutmeg (strengthening), and orange (invigorating). Olivin Pfefferberg lives up to its name: things get fiery! But Olivin is more than just a name, it comes from the type of stone used for infusions. Besides many other qualities, olivine stone is supposed to strengthen confidence — we could all do with some of that. And if all that isn’t enough to entice you, massages are also on the menu — after all, Olivin is a Wellness Lounge.

Text: Maria Mayer  / Photos: Robyn Steffen

Olivin Wellness Lounge Sauna, Schönhauser Allee 177, 10119 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg; map

Mon–Sun 12–00h

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