Andreas Punz's Naehsalon Nahtlos
In the further reaches of Vienna's hip 7th district, a little workshop offers sewing and screen printing courses and much more for those who like to be creative with their hands. Those who already have the know-how can come and, for a reasonable fee, use the workshop for their own projects. Those who would like to learn some new skills can choose from a variety of courses or even book a custom workshop tailored to their own needs.
The owner, Andreas Punz, comes from Lower Austria, where he enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the countryside, far away from screens and digital technology. His mother taught him sewing and the appreciation of handicrafts, so already early on he learnt how to sew all the basics such as simple trousers, t-shirts, skirts and various accessories. He particularly likes to recreate patterns from existing pieces. Due to his technical training, says Punz (he studied Electrical Engineering in St.Pölten), it is easy for him to learn new techniques.
In 2006, he moved to Vienna to study musicology. During his studies, he was inspired by some of his friends who made their living by doing what they loved. Punz decided to follow in their footsteps and started looking around for his own niche. He was not sure what it could be until one day his sewing machine broke and he was not able to find a place to rent one and finish his project. That was the turning point, says Punz, when the idea started taking shape. Shortly afterwards, he opened his shop in Kellermanngasse.
Ewa Stern: How did you decide on this name?
Andreas Punz: There were many options, so I did a poll on Facebook and the one with the most votes was Nähsalon Nahtlos.
ES: You learnt how to sew at home a long time ago, how did you come to screen printing?
AP: My first experience with silkscreen was during my stay in Lisbon in 2009, where I learned screen printing from a good friend. Since then, I kept on experimenting and I’m still learning something new with every different project. I think one learns best by doing and exchanging one's knowledge with others, so renting out my space and giving workshops is really great in that way.
ES: Who comes to the workshops at Nähsalon Nahtlos?
AP: People that come are mostly women of all ages. It is a pity that men are not so interested, I guess it has something to do with the image of a mother sewing for her kids. But sewing isn't a classical female occupation. Before our closets became filled with mass production from China, you would go to a tailor. Also, many top designers are men. So there is no reason men should shy away from the sewing machine. I guess nowadays we do not have much time for for hobbies and activities that have little to do with our professions. Women, apparently, seem to appreciate making stuff with their hands more than men do. I like this trend of people doing stuff themselves instead of buying everything.
ES: After graduating from University you decided to stay on in Vienna, why?
AP: I like Vienna because it's a city of a perfect size, big enough for me to sustain my business and small enough that you can get out into nature in no time.
ES: Where do you live in Vienna?
AP: I live in the 3rd district, very close to the green Prater, where I daily walk my girlfriend’s dog. This huge enclave of nature in the heart of Vienna allows me to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, relax, and recharge my batteries.
ES: Where do you spend most of your time?
AP: My life pretty much revolves around the 7th district and my home district of the 3rd. Normally, I move between them on my bike, so I can see a lot of city in between. I really like the shops in the 7th district. I haven't been into every one of them, but I love walking around and seeing all these small shops popping up around and people who do something with love. Around here, I really like Victus und Milli for food and LaGréce, which is a great little shop for take-away sandwiches and Greek specialities. And there were this shop around here, owned by friends of mine, who actually gave me the idea to open my own place. One of them designs and sells fixed gear and single speed bikes and the other is a clothes designer. They merged their businesses and another friend of theirs started a coffee shop at the same location. It’s called Block 44 and it has moved to the 15th district, which unfortunately is a little too far for me to pass by very often.
ES: Where do you shop for clothes?
AP: I don't. I have some items that I really like and my plan is to make everything myself, so I won't buy stuff any more, but recreate it, changing it a little bit and experimenting with it. I have stuff that I really like, that fits well and now that I have all the possibilities, I really want to do my own stuff.
ES: What is your favourite season in Vienna?
AP: The nicest season in Vienna is summer. You do not actually have to leave the city to have some kind of holiday, as you can go swimming in the Danube, lie on a beach on Donauinsel or walk through the woods of Prater. Unfortunately, summer here is quite short, so I try to spend as much time as possible out in nature.
ES: So you do not actually go on vacation?
AP: Yes I do. The little holidays that I can take as a one-person business, I love to spend at music festivals, where I have fun camping and listening to music. There I can indulge in my other passion, which is music.
ES: What happened to that actually, did you put it on ice since you opened your business?
AP: I still compose music when I have time. Occasionally, I play some records at different bars and parties around Vienna. Not long ago, together with a good friend of mine, we started a weekly internet radio show called “Monday Night at the Duck Pond”. It airs from 9 p.m. at mondaynight.caster.fm.
If you are looking for an original gift idea this Christmas, you can either make your own presents for your loved ones, or offer them a gift certificate for a workshop. German language screen printing and sewing courses at Nähsalon Nahtlos are offered on a weekly basis. However, Punz also offers courses in English. The minimum number of participants for sewing courses in English is two, so you can either find a friend to join you, or you can ask him a couple of weeks in advance, so that he can advertise the course on his website.
edited by Anu Turunen