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March 2003

Crafty & Clever

Three locations where you can live out your DIY dreams

Have you ever caught yourself browsing in stores and thinking, “It’s all the same old junk?” Are you the kind of person who wants to wear jewelry or carry a purse that shouts originality? Have you ever wanted to try your hand at design? Or have furniture in your house that prompts visitors to ask, “That’s so special. Where did you buy it?” Well, now you are able to say, “Oh that old thing? I made it!” and smile proudly at the reaction to your secret talents. Do-It-Yourself (or DIY) places are becoming increasingly popular as people search for new ways to express their individuality in this age of mass production. However, the time of home crafts is over and has been replaced by modern workshops, in which eager participants produce everything from crockery to armchairs. Munich boasts three such locations, all concentrating on different kinds of handicraft, in friendly, helpful environments. With such a variety of courses on offer, there is something for everyone.

Selberschön Clubwerkstatt ([089] 238 88 60) was founded by Uli Duttenhofer, a former marketing and communications expert. Her aim is to create a welcoming and relaxed environment, where people have the time and the means to make beautiful objects, with the motto “For me, for my apartment, for my friends.” This location is probably best suited to women. People can take part in courses on sewing clothes (from scarves to kimonos), designing items for the home (pillows, mirrors, wall hangings), making books (photo albums, cookbooks, scrapbooks) and producing personalized items (from calendars to CD covers to personalized stationary). Classes are generally held in the evenings on weekdays, from 7 to 10 pm, and from noon until 6 pm on the weekends. Workshops are conducted in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, and there is no need to feel nervous about being a beginner: the teachers are easygoing and accommodating and the work is individual, so you can proceed at your own pace. The brochure features funky, cylindrical lamps, lace pillows, various bags, elaborately decorated spirals, pencil boxes, colorful wall hangings and even a purse dotted with felt roses. In addition to the regular courses, Selberschön offers several special classes each month. There is an ongoing program of student workshops, as well as “happy hour” courses at half price, exploring such crafts as book binding and sewing. The first Saturday of each month features a do-it-yourself evening, complete with food catered by Zimmes & Zorres, in the Glockenbachviertel. The theme of the March 8 course, which will be held from 7 to 11.30 pm, is Spanish food and the versatility of paper, all for only € 58 per person, including food, materials and instruction. The number of participants is limited to just 25 people in these courses, so it is best to reserve ahead of time (most other courses are open and one can just stop by at the specified time). Further information can be found at

If you wish to create something more sophisticated, such as a piece of furniture, why not try the Haus der Eigenarbeit ([089] 448 06 23), located near the Ostbahnhof. This establishment, with three large floors of work space, plus a café for downtime, is geared towards serious DIY enthusiasts. Courses are offered on everything ranging from pottery to upholstering your sofa to building bicycles. Photographs in the brochure include people sitting at the potter’s wheel, wearing masks to protect their eyes from flying sparks, hammering, sawing and wearing earmuffs to protect their eardrums from the roar of electric drills. Children are also shown, creating clay shapes and making intricate masks and puppets. The pamphlet is also filled with images of the finished results: beautifully glazed urns, jewelry, cabinets, marbled paper, book holders, tables and chairs. In this professional environment, all ages and levels of experience are welcome, and private and group lessons are available—just make sure you’re ready to get down and dirty before you sign up. Haus der Eigenarbeit offers unique opportunities for hands-on learning with professional painters, builders, potters, designers and other artists. Aside from the regular workshops, like those on wood, metal jewelry and textiles, there are more unusual options, such as courses on lamp making, ceramics, glass blowing and furniture design. Though these workshops entail a lot of hard work, the results are stunning. Prices and dates of individual courses vary; for the latest information on courses being offered log onto People are also more than welcome to stop by and check out the various workshop stations to see what might inspire them.

The third and last DIY jaunt in Munich is at none other than the Gasteig. The Volkshochschule ([089] 48 00 60) offers a mind-boggling selection of courses for people to choose from. Some of the more interesting classes include those on Japanese ceramics, African pot-making, mosaics, furniture restoration, building and learning how to play your own Didgeridoo, paper making, origami, creating funky lampshades, flower arranging, puppet and doll making and sewing and knitting. Classes are held weekdays and weekends at all different hours; a program costs € 3, but the entire list of events can be accessed free of charge on the Web at Although none of these places offer courses in English, they do take a hands-on approach to learning, so language should not be a barrier. Of course, it is no doubt useful to have at least a minimal knowledge of German, but on the whole the teachers are friendly and willing to help. And just think, anything you can buy in a store, you can make yourself! It is a liberating and enjoyable experience to create something with your own hands.

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