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Last week we spoke to Christine Mayer, who will be leading our Draping in Brighton Retreat, 5-13 June 2020. We asked her about her inspiration and work…


What inspired you to become an artist and what influenced you as you started your journey?
During my childhood in Germany, I played with my sister and cousins at our grandparents’ farmhouse and spent a lot of time in the barn and huge hayloft. The place was full of old wood, handwoven linens, cornsacks, mangle cloths and wonderful white bedsheets. I loved all these materials and started using them to hand sew dresses, hats and shoes for my dolls.

My other grandmother was a tailor and my aunt a textile and fashion designer. I loved to watch her drawing sketches for the first communion dress she created for me. They both inspired me a lot. My grandmothers had the gift of being able to create beautiful things out of almost nothing. I think the years of scarcity during the war must have taught them this.

When I finished school I knew I had to follow a creative path, specifically fashion, costume and design,  but to do it in a very conscious way.

How did you get to where you are today?
During my studies in fashion design in Hamburg, Germany, I was one of the first students of Tamotsu Kondo, a Draping artist from Japan. He taught us how to create patterns three-dimensional directly on a mannequin. This unconventional way of creating patterns was completely new to me and  it was a breakthrough moment. It was like being offered an instrument of freedom. Once I had learnt the method, I NEVER created a two-dimensional pattern again. I started to experiment with the classical method of Draping using recycled materials, moulding and patching them directly on the dress form. This was in a time when Upcycling was not common. I guess I have been a pioneer of it in a way.


In the beginning, I found old military jackets and transformed them into powerful feminine jackets. Each jacket was a handmade individual piece, draped on the dress form. It was a transformation of the male military energy into something of beauty.  I wanted to give something back so I started to support children in India and Nepal with the collection and the MAYER. Peace Collection was born. The MAYER. Peace Collection military jacket was a great success and was sold in designer stores worldwide for many years.

After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, I felt it was time to work in a more conscious way, to step out of the fast-moving carousel of fashion and into a place where others could grow with me and find a path to their own true identity and creativity.

I created my platform and began sharing the art of Draping, Upcycling and creativity. My goal is to connect the people to their creative souls with a sense of purpose and I like to incorporate meditation, sound and Kundalini Yoga into my workshops and retreats. This helps to find a flow and personal connection to the cloth or clothes and helps develop a sense of self-love. That’s the first very important step in the process.


Can you tell us about your process? How do you get from idea to finished piece?
For me, the material is always the inspiration. I love materials with history, floursacks, mangle cloths, handwoven linens, old embroidered pieces from all over the world… I believe that everything has a soul and if you find a connection with a piece of fabric, maybe one with a history, you will know exactly how to mould and shape it. The fabric almost guides you and that’s the whole secret in draping. I love to teach this and to observe, how the participants explore and free themselves.

What have you been inspired by recently?
I just have been on a 2-month journey through India, the sacred land of ancient wisdom, country of colours and textiles. This has been truly inspirational and I carry lots of pictures with me in both head and heart.

Nature is a huge source of inspiration for me. It is so beautiful and perfect in a way humans can never recreate. The Universe/God is the greatest creator. Meditation, Yoga, or being in nature connects me and when I’m connected, everything, every encounter or conversation inspires me.

Do you have a favourite piece of work from your collection?
Still my PURE military jacket is a favourite piece. I have worn it for many years as do many of my customers. It’s timeless and you can combine it with many styles.

Do you have any encouraging advice?
KEEP ON!  Keep the light burning!

There are a few places left on our retreat. Click below to book your place…

San Luis Obispo Draping Retreat

Thanks again for such a fabulous week!

Draping Workshop in Garden Farms, San Luis Obispo in May 2019.

“Best workshop I have ever attended.  And believe me, I’ve attended more than my fair share of workshops.  Everything was perfect and I walked away thinking I am inspired to change the way I look at designing and making.”

“Basking in the bliss of sharing a beautiful experience in such a gorgeous nature environment with an outstanding teacher and such talented women. Thank you for sharing this creative time with me and allowing me to join you on the journey.”

“My husband asked me last night how this retreat ranked with others I’ve attended and my easy answer was “the best”! Christine, you have a gentle way of bringing out the creativity in us. I was able to create in a way I never thought possible and feel like a bird that’s been freed from her cage.”


Workshops & Retreats 2019

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“Being creative means, let your life be a painting, let your life be a poem.”


Dear Creative Friends & Textile Lovers

The year is slowly drawing to an end and with gratitude I look back on a dreamlike retreat summer in the South of France, wonderful workshops in the United States, Switzerland and Berlin and to many special deep encounters and unforgettable moments. For me it is a gift, to share in the workshops the love for textiles with wonderful people worldwide and to be a helping hand to reveal new, artistic ways of making clothes and being creative.
Creativity begins, where we leave proven paths!

I’m very glad to present to you today the workshop and retreat program for 2019!

South of France
We found a wonderful new place in the South of France, a former royal textile manufacture. This magic place will be the venue for the upcoming Draping & Upcycling Summer Retreat as well as for the new combined experience of the Creativity and Food retreat in 2019, where, alongside the textile and draping workshop, Natalie Viaux will introduce you to her secrets of healthy yummy vegetarian food and how to prepare it.

If you want to discover the Berlin fashion and textile scene, put the Berlin Retreat in July on your list of „things-to-do in 2019“. Together we will meet innovative Berlin designers, discover my favourite textile, fashion and food places in town and you will learn Upcycling and Draping as well as screen printing in this one-of-a-kind week.

United States
Draping at a most wonderful place, in the nature of the beautiful garden of Melinda Forbes in Garden Farms, San Luis Obispo, this Upcyling & Japanese Draping Workshop will nourish your soul.

The highlights in 2019 will be two retreats to Asia end of the year:
The Creative Journey to Nepal to discover handicrafts and textiles and the incomparable beauty of the Himalayan country, in combination with being pampered for 3 days in an exclusive Ayurveda resort up in the Himalayas.
The Thailand Retreat, to discover traditional Thai textile places in Chiang Mai, learn dyeing and weaving from a Thai textile specialist and enjoy a 6-day draping workshop in a calm environment in North Thailand.

Registration for Nepal and Thailand ends December 25, 2018. Places are limited for all workshops and retreats. As some sell out fast, it is strongly recommended to register early.
I look forward to going deeper together on a wonderful journey of creativity, textiles and consciousness.

With much Love, Christine

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Creative Retreat in San Luis Obispo, CA

One week full of light

Full of creativity

Full of love

We worked under a 100 years old walnut tree

The Father Tree

It was a life changing experience for all of us.

Thanks to 13 fantastic women!


“I will never be the same; I’ve crossed the threshold into the light.”
“Couldn’t  feel more inspired, more well-fed, more loved.”
“That week transported me to other places and it was a real retreat from the world.”

Workshop News Autumn 2018

Dear Creative Friends & Textile Lovers,

Most of the spring- and summer workshops are already fully booked!

Therefore I’m happy to offer two additional draping workshops in Berlin and South of France:

Advanced Japanese Draping Level II from October 3-6, 2018 in Berlin
Creative Summer Retreat II from September 6-13, 2018 at Chateau Marteret, South of France
Registration is now open.

NEW! From June 4-10, 2018 I will teach a Draping Workshop in San Luis Obispo in California. The workshop will be organized by the wonderful Melinda Forbes. We will work in her studio and as well as in her beautiful garden.

A special adventure will be the Creative- and Textile Journey to Nepal in November, where we will be pampered for five days in the most beautiful Ayurveda ressort in the Himalayan mountains, design and produce handmade paper ourselves, visit Nepali artists in their studios and search for textile treasures in small villages of the Kathmandu valley. Register now – there are only few places left.

For any enquires please feel free to contact me.
I’m looking forward to wonderful encounters, creative discoveries and deep experiences!

Warmest yours,
Christine Mayer



8 days of creativity  discovery  immersion
5 days Ayurveda retreat in a dreamlike resort in the Himalayan mountains

Dear Textile Lovers
In November of this year (2018) I will accompany a small group of textile and handicraft enthusiasts to Nepal, to share my personal vision of this creative and mythical country.

We will explore the old royal cities of Lalitpur and Kathmandu, discover antique and new textiles and wood carvings, learn by taking part in handicraft workshops guided by Nepalese artists, mold our own paper and, as a culmination of the journey, experience a renewal of body, mind and soul in the most beautiful luxury Ayurveda resort in the Himalayan mountains.

The registration for this journey is open until the 31st of January.
Please find a detailed description of the trip here. 

Feel warmly invited and welcome to join us! For inquiries and registration please contact me.

With all my heart


8 Tage Kreativität • Entdecken • Eintauchen
5 Tage Ayurveda Retreat im schönsten Resort im Himalaya

Liebe Kreativ-Freunde und Textile-Fans

Ich freue mich sehr, im November diesen Jahres eine Reise nach Nepal anbieten zu können, in der ich meinen persönlichen Blickwinkel dieses kreativen und mystischen Landes teilen möchte. In einer kleinen Gruppe von Textil- und Kunst Liebhabern werden wir in eine andere Welt eintauchen und die kreative Seite Nepals entdecken.

Wir erkunden die beiden alten Königsstädte Lalitpur und Kathmandu, machen uns auf die Suche nach alten und neuen Textilien und Holzschnitzereien, lernen in Workshops traditionelle nepalesische Handwerkstechniken kennen, schöpfen unser eigenes Papier vor den Toren von Kathmandu und erleben als Höhepunkt der Reise eine Erneuerung von Körper, Geist und Seele im für mich schönsten Ayurveda Resort am Fuße des Himalaya.

Anmeldungen für diese Reise sind bis zum 31. Januar möglich. 
Die ausführliche Reisebschreibung finden Sie hier. 

Ich lade Sie herzlich ein, dabei zu sein! Für Anfragen und Anmeldungen bitte kontaktieren Sie mich gerne.
Herzlichst, Christine Mayer




Liebe Kreativ-Freunde

Ein Neues Jahr steht bevor und die stille Zeit zwischen den Jahren eignet sich besonders gut, um zurück zu blicken, innezuhalten und in Dankbarkeit manch Altes gehen zu lassen.

Ich durfte im vergangenen Jahr einige von Ihnen in Workshops und Retreats begleiten und darin unterstützen, ihren persönlichen kreativen Ausdruck zu finden. Dafür bin ich sehr dankbar.
Eine Hülle zu schaffen, die uns wärmt, schützt und das Gefühl tiefer Geborgenheit schenkt, verbindet uns mit unseren archaischen Wurzeln, denn es wird seit jeher von Menschen getan. Zu spüren, welche Umhüllung die eigene Seele braucht, um Geborgenheit oder Kraft zu empfinden und diese mit den eigenen Händen zu kreieren, ist etwas, das uns sehr tief mit uns selbst verbindet. Wenn dies in den Workshops und Retreats geschieht, ist es jeweils ein großes Geschenk – auch für mich.

Im kommenden Frühjahr werde ich erneut in den USA unterrichten: als Guest Teacher beim Design Outside the Lines Retreat mit Diane Ericson in Ashland, Oregon sowie beim Upcycling & Draping Workshop in Tucson, Arizona. Für beide Workshops gibt es wenige letzte freie Plätze.
Die Highlights im Sommer sind sicherlich die beiden Retreats in Südfrankreich: Upcycling of Vintage Materials in Kooperation mit dem rennomierten britischen Selvedge Magazine im traumhaften Chateau Dumas und Textile, Upcycling & Draping im pittoresken Chateau Marteret, umgeben von 200 Hektar unberührter Natur, einer wahren Oase für Inspiration und Kreativität. Für beide Retreats gibt es noch ein paar freie Plätze.

In den Berliner Frühjahres-Workshops können Sie darüber hinaus die Kunst des Japanischen oder Freien Drapierens erlernen oder für Kurzentschlossene unter Ihnen, in Zürich Ende Januar Upcycling & Draping üben.

Ich freue mich auf viele inspirierende Begegnungen und wünsche Ihnen für das Neue Jahr 2018 Erfüllung, Inspiration und Freude sowie eine Hülle der Liebe, die alles umgibt.

Von Herzen,
Ihre Christine Mayer


Dear creative Friends

I hope you had beautiful and joyful festive days. Now these silent days before the new year starts are the perfect time to reminisce, consciously reflect and let go the past year with gratefulness. We can already see the new dawn at the horizon.

In the last year I was allowed to accompany you in workshops and retreats to support you in finding your individual creative expression. I’m very grateful for his.
Creating a textile shell, that warms and protects us, connects us with our archaic roots and is something humans have been doing for centuries always. To develop and create a wrapping for our soul with our own hands, one to feel secure and powerful, connects us deeply with our inner potential and most intimate self. If this happens in a workshop or retreat, it’s always the greatest gift – also for me.

As soon as next spring I will be teaching in the USA again: as guest teacher at Diane Ericson’s Design Outside the Lines Retreat in Ashland, Oregon as well as for the Upcycling & Draping Workshop in Tuscon, Arizona. For both workshops there are some last places available at that point.
The highlights in summer 2018 will surely be two retreats in the south of France: Upcycling  – smart usage of vintage materials, will be held in cooperation with the renowned UK Selvedge magazine.  The perfect locations for these international events  will be again the dreamlike Chateau Dumas and for the Textile & Draping Retreat the picturesque Chateau Marteret, admidst of 200 hectare untouched nature, a true oasis for inspiration and creativity. For both retreats registration has started and we do have a few free vacancies left.
In the spring workshops based in Berlin you can learn the art of Japanese or Free Draping and for all sponteanous among you there is a Upcycling & Draping Workshop in Zürich, Switzerland – end of January.
I look forward to the many inspiring encounters in 2018.
I wish you from the bottom of my heart a year full of inspiration, joy and fulfillment. 
May you be protected by the love that guides your way.

With all my heart,
Christine Mayer

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Christine’s work in Selvedge Magazine

October 23, 2017

goose jacket

Years ago people made do and mended out of necessity, but out of this grew a love for darning, hand-stitching, patching and fixing old and worn garments. Today things have changed, and the invaluable skills that our mothers and grandmothers once learned are being lost in a world in which replacing an old or damaged jumper can cost as little as a coffee.


While it’s true that we do spend a smaller proportion of our incomes on clothing than we did 50 years ago, we now also consume in huge quantities. Gone are the days our grandparents remember; of saving for months for a new pair of shoes and making do in the meantime.linnen mix jacket

There is hope though, for a more sustainable fashion industry, and there are people out there encouraging new ways (or should we say old ways) of thinking. Christine Mayer is one of them, teaching the art of garment upcycling; the creative reuse of worn and used fabrics. She gives people the opportunity and skills to work with old and loved fabrics and to re-imagine them as brand new garments.

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Her most recent collection has been made entirely from recycled fabric with a lot of love. As she puts it, she wants her clothes to ‘embrace the people who wear them’. What we appear to have lost over time is the attachment to and love for our clothing, and through her work Mayer reminds us of the great tenacity of this connection.

Christine Mayer will lead one of Selvedge’s residential workshops next summer at Chateau Dumas. Click here for more information about her workshop ‘Free Draping: A New Purpose For Vintage Textiles’.

For more on upcycling take a look at our ‘Green’ issue. 

For more on Mayer read our ‘Localisation’ issue.

Creative Material Processing, Berlin Oktober 2017

A wonderful creative weekend is over: we created amazing fabrics, felt and paper objects and had a lot of fun together!

Thanks to all of you for these warm and lovely days. Looking forward seeing you in March 2018 for the Free Draping Workshop!

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Exclusive Preview ASHA HOPE Collection in Berlin

आशा ASHA bedeutet HOFFNUNG in Nepali und ist das neue Luxury Slow Fashion Mode- und Lifestyle Brand und ein lebendiger Dialog zwischen Dörfern im Himalaya, Kathmandu und Berlin.

आशा ASHA HOPE ist ein moderner und nachhaltiger Weg von weiblicher Kraft und Unabhängigkeit in Nepal; ein Weg, der den Status der nepalesischen Frau in der Gesellschaft verändern kann.
Jedes Stück der आशा ASHA HOPE Kollektion wird mit viel Liebe von Hand in den nepalesischen Bergen für Sie gestrickt und mit einer persönlichen Botschaft der Strickerin geliefert.
आशा ASHA HOPE steht für hochwertige Qualität und avantgardistisches Design, höchsten ethischen Standard und sozialer Verantwortung.
आशा ASHA HOPE fertigt feinste Cardigans, Mäntel, Ponchos und Accessoires für Frauen und Männer aus Cashmere, Yak und Alpaka Wolle; eine Kinder- und Home Kollektion wird folgen.
आशा ASHA HOPE unterstützt die Frauen darin, ihr eigenes Einkommen zu generieren und wird ihnen helfen, ihre Häuser, die durch das verheerende Erdbeben von 2015 zerstört wurden, wieder aufzubauen.

Vor ein paar Wochen kam ich aus Nepal zurück. Dort fertigte ich mit den Frauen eine Musterkollektion und war Gast in ihren Dörfern, nahe der tibetischen Grenze. Diese Reise hat mich tief berührt und verändert.
Die Freude am Einfachen, ihre Gastfreundschaft und bedingungslose Hingabe an das Leben, trotz aller Schwierigkeiten und täglichen Herausforderungen; all dies hat sich tief in mein Herz eingeprägt.

Mit großer Freude möchte ich Ihnen nun in einer exklusiven Preview die ersten Teile von आशा ASHA HOPE präsentieren. Sie können Ihre Lieblingsstücke bestellen und bekommen diese pünktlich zum Herbst nach Hause geliefert. Sie werden speziell für Sie in Nepal produziert. Für Ihre Unterstützung dieses einzigartigen Projektes und um unsere Dankbarkeit zu zeigen, erhalten Sie exklusiv bei diesem Event 25% auf die ersten Teile der  आशा ASHA HOPE Kollektion.

Montag, 1.Mai 2017,  18-21h
Karl-Marx-Allee 81, VH 2.OG (Klingel VIAUX), Berlin-Mitte

Wir bitten um Anmeldung unter:

Wir freuen uns auf Sie!
Herzlichst, Ihre Christine Mayer

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KUMAMI in Köpenick

In Köpenick haben wir ein wundervolles japanisches Restaurant entdeckt. Es ist eine Perle, inmitten der Altstadt gelegen: KUMAMI
Der Raum im KUMAMI mutet wie eine Kunstinstallation an und wurde von Kuma, der das Restaurant mit seiner Frau betreibt, entworfen.
Das Essen ist delikat, feinst abgestimmt, ästhetisch und absolut rund in allem. Die Philosophie von KUMAMI ist, den ursprünglichen Geschmack des Lebensmittels zu achten und dies mit Dankbarkeit zu genießen. Das Restaurant hat 8 Plätze und man muss zwei Tage im Voraus reservieren.

Ein Essen bei KUMAMI ist Erlebnis für alle Sinne!



Kietzer Straße 3
12555 Berlin Alt-Köpenick Germany

SELVEDGE Newsletter April 2017

The road to fashion hell is paved with good intentions. In many cases the urge to create something sustainable and beautiful falters and fails – the spirit is willing but the style is weak. Enter Christine Mayer, a designer with the strength to make her philosophy materialise into two collections each year that combine worthy aims with a wonderfully theatrical but unfussy style.
MAYER. Peace Collection represents the fusion of fashion, charity and the enchanting transformation of vintage linens, picked up on Christine’s trips through the bustling flea markets in her native Berlin. Each and every garment is handmade using historic fabrics and haberdashery, and all of the profits benefit various charity projects that have stayed close to Mayer’s heart for many years, supporting underprivileged children in Nepal and India. In Christine’s own words, “Everything we do is about love: everything we give will flow back to us in the end…”

Learn from Christine this summer as she joins us at the beautiful Chateau Dumas. Using a traditional tailors’ dummy and Christine’s dressmaking techniques, inspired by the art of Japanese draping,  she will teach you how to drape, fold and stitch vintage fabrics to create a timeless piece for your wardrobe. Using her liberating technique you’ll discover this way of working has more in common with sculpting than dressmaking. Christine encourages you to bring a collection of vintage fabrics that you love for their special details. Additional fabrics can be purchased at the Sunday  market in the medieval town of St Antonin-Noble-Val…

An embroidered monogram, a decoratively stitched piece of fabric or even an heirloom belt buckle can open a whole new world of possibilities. Working together with Christine, you will create a new garment with this exclusive fashion philosophy. As long as you have a connection to the vintage piece or accessory you are working with, you will step into the world of the MAYER. Peace Collection  with a familiar fabric, and step out with a transformed – and timeless – work of art.  Prices from €1935 Free- Draping, 19-26 August.