Recycling playground.

Since the startup of Pepavana in 2007 I have been using second-hand materials and fabrics to design new products and at the same time teaching kids and adults my recycle skills. That all started at Studio Hergebruik at the Coolsingel in Rotterdam, a playground for recycling products ànd designers, spread out by initiator Jan de Haas.

For me, recycling was a second nature, partly because of the lack of money and materials. Growing up at a barge, we often had to cope with the materials that were present because there were no shops around during a trip. My father was very creative in engineering with recycled materials. At school, we also learned all kinds of crafts, like woodworking and all sorts of needlework.

Sew, knit and knot.

Then I had two skilled grandmothers who taught me how to sew, knit and knot. I made my first pair of hippy jeans in the Seventies, I was twelve years old. Since then I made all my clothes, using vintage linen from my mother’s wardrobe. Or I bought happy fabrics on the market from my pocket money. Even then I started to use leftover fabric from the industries. Most of the time it was little scraps that I had to sew together, or I designed ultra mini tops and lingerie from it; not strange considering it was the Eighties than.

Teaching old skills

Back to teaching. My second nature is still using the materials that are around. I know everything about recycling excising goods and materials which allows me to design creative workshops and lessons for kids and adults and at the same time share my vision about sustainability.

We are not afraid for needle and tread

Nowadays needlecraft and embroider lessons are missing at primary school. Not a lot of kids are educated at home in the skills that use to be standard in our times. I encounter kids that have never used a pair of scissors or are not allowed to hammer at home. I find it very important to learn kids to use their head and hands. Showing them that a little effort will result in more sustainable gadgets.

During the Pepavana workshops, I encourage kids and adults to use techniques whereby they make a creation that lasts longer and looks professional. Our motto is: We are not afraid for needle and tread. It is easy to attach stuff by using glue, and we do so, but I always offer them old fashion hand stitching. How to stick the thread through the eye of the needle. How to hold it instead of knotting the thread to the needle (taught at primary school or at home?). Everything they learn or try out is considered a victory. Showing how it works, doing it together, making small steps, is the beginning of consciousness by the new generation.

Pepavana workshops are not like other workshops. I design a concept, make examples and build in different levels of experience. Sometimes workshops are attended by kids and adults and everything in between. They can learn each other under my guidance or work individually and finally go home with their handcrafted treasure.

Old Dutch skill Staphorster Stipwerk

Every time I recall old skills and crafts. Some that I use myself and some that I stumbled up upon, like Staphorster Stipwerk. Stipwerk is an old skool and cheap method of decorating fabrics by the woman of Staphorst. They were using spikes stamps and paint to make patterns on the fabric. Read more about the origin of Staphorster Stipwerk.

I found out that it is fun to make your own stamps and I have to admit it is more difficult than you imagine at first sight. It is even more fun to do stipwerk, on black fabrics or jeans. Making patterns and combine all the different stamps.

Try out the different skills at Kings day.

For the next workshop, I prepared black bandanas and felt / leather bracelets that kids can work on with stamps and paint. Bring your old jeans to give it a new look. When you feel like it hammers your own stamp. To complete the leather bracelets with the stipwerk on it, you need to make a ribbon out of wool threads by braiding or crotching.

Pepavana is present with ‘Bandanas & Bracelets Stipwerk’ at The Royal Rollerdisco on April’ 27 during Kings day! Find us at Delieplein Rotterdam.

Open Studio Days 

We start in the new year with two days open studio with the Prepare-For-Winter Sale. We have discounted bags, hats & gaiters of felted blankets and tweeds — existing ánd new models. Many forgotten items in storage that are worthwhile looking at, can be purchased for €5,- to €25,-. Are you interested in the present wool felt collection? Then I am also happy to advise you. For on-the-spot orders and made-to-measure service, you get up to 10% discount. We accept cash and pin payments.

Tweed Mini Shopper Bags €15,- Blanky Bags €29,- Bonnets & Caps €25-€29,- Farmer Hats €49,- Blanky Gaiters €75,- Tweed gaiters €99,- Fashion gaiters €50,- and €75,-  

Free Workshop Making Mittens

Try & buy the wool felt mittens in motorcycle style, that are new in the collection! For the occasion they can be purchased now with 10% discount at the Open Studio Days or the webshop now, using coupon code: NOW10

But it is also fun to make your mittens from recycled sweaters, tee’s, knits, jeans, blankets and whatever you bring yourself.  I developed a simple pattern that you can easily adjust to your size and desired style. You can work on our sewing machines or use needle and tread. I will teach you techniques to personalize your mittens. It is free to join us at the workshop, but we ask a small contribution of €5,- for the materials that are available. Pay directly at the webshop to valid your participation for the free workshop. 

Next open studio dates with the free workshop:

  • Friday 11 January 15.00-20.00 hours
  • Friday  8 February 15.00-20.00 hours

Location: Ruivenstraat 39 Rotterdam. Please enlist for the Prepare For Winter Sale by sending an email, call or WhatsApp to +31641637798.

I look forward to meeting you!

In awaiting the new Studio Sale dates, you are very welcome at our studio for made to measure service or checking out all the unique examples on the shelves. Please contact me for an appointment or any question about the o.o.a.k. items.

Kind regards


A permanent spot

It was only one month ago that I got the opportunity to rent a permanent studio at the Ruivenstraat 39 in Rotterdam after I had to leave my studio on the Noordereiland. I rented Prins Hendriklaan 10-06 on a temporary base, which was excellent for the time being but now I am surrounded by fellow artists in a beautiful building with a great atmosphere in the Old North of Rotterdam.


We are still unpacking and organizing the former classroom. We painted away the bright blue on the woodwork to create a serene space. There is more than enough stuff that attracts attention already. We built two storage towers since the room is 4,5 meters high.  Like the other space, we have a workshop and showroom emerged. In the future, I would like to create a ‘piano nobile,’ perfect for the showroom and chill out.

If there is anybody who feels like helping me with building the construction, please contact me.

Back to work

So I am ready to pick up assignments and make new designs. Pepavana will attend several fairs this year. On 9, 10 & 11 November we will redecorate a hotel room with our best wool felt designs at ARA ART FAIR 2018. And we will attend the 10th edition of Meesterlijk on 30 November, 1 and 2 December.

I am looking forward to meeting you here or there:).

Studio Sale

And we will organize a studio sale soon, but before that happens, you are welcome to visit us for custom made orders or fittings. Have a peek at our shelves with summer items. So feel free to come around and profit from attractive prices on summer clothes and accessories.

Don’t miss updates and invitations by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of this page!

The teaching assignment

Last week I was asked by Ebami Tom to co-host a sewing workshop at “Made in 4 Havens”, a maker space, located in the harbor area of Rotterdam West. Our assignment was to implement several skills and techniques on different levels for a small group of women. Most of them had little sewing experience, but we needed to challenge teaching the ones with more skills.

Made in 4 Havens

At the studio here at Made in 4 Havens, production of fashion items are made by local women for several clients already.

We could implement all these requirements, by teaching them how to sew a cotton tote bag with volume and pockets. Since I am a bag designer, I showed them a couple of bag designs that illustrated the different orders and difficulties. The students could choose to make one with a loose hanging inner pocket or a volume pocket on the front. They also had to make an application on it.


Kim and I gave instructions on how to use the industrial sewing machines and the lockers. The first step was to make a square test cloth on these machines. During class, we attended the students personally, guided them through the whole process of design and executing at the different stages of making a tote bag.

Eventually, all the students had used different skills at their level and made a personalized tote bag.

Kim van Eijnatten is a fashion specialist that, apart from teaching how to sew, keeps her footprint small by selling rare second-hand finds at “Nonsens Vintage.”

Ebami visited my studio in Heijplaat a couple of years ago in search for Rotterdam Designers, and later on, I attended the Design Market at Made in 4 Havens.

We were all excited about working together and hope this trial will result in a future series of sewing lessons.

We can look back at an excellent edition of Meesterlijk 2016. It is a yearly event with the most sympathetic designers and craftsmen that you can find in the Netherlands. Organized by Nicole Unicole. Since 2012 I am promoting the new accessory for high heels on this event and it is starting to pay off, visitors find their way to my stand.

I noticed that not only women stopped by but also men, and often it was men that chose Pepavanas for their wives or girlfriends. So I am looking forward to the next edition in December!

At Meesterlijk 2017 we will consummate the Continuous Collection with New Designs.

I will keep you posted!


Meesterlijk Design & Ambacht

1-3 December

Westergasfabriek Amsterdam

New dates in 2018:

November 30, December 1-2

Our temporary Showroom at location Sleephellingstraat is closed since a new happy owner bought the apartment. From January 2016 you can visit us at our new address. Studio and showroom are merged at Lokaal 06. Our new address is Prins Hendriklaan 10  Rotterdam. We are planning a little welcome party in the Spring this year so keep an eye on your mailbox for a personal invite.