My name is Lena Hanzel. I live and work as a freelance graphic designer in Berlin, Germany. I love my work, but I missed making things by hand. This led me to establish my own label There Is Always Room for Emptiness, which allows me to set my creativity free.
For ages, I dreamed of developing and producing my own family of products. I sought to develop a sophisticated concept that I could carry out alongside my own profession, and came up with three patterns that I can apply to a wide range of items. I love the challenge of learning new techniques that allow me to produce and improve my products. It’s fun keeping my eyes open as I discover and plan where else my patterns can be put to practice.
My hand-painted dishware begins with regular visits to flea markets, where I search for sets and individual pieces that can be incorporated into my series. Once found, the pieces are thoroughly cleansed and each piece is hand-painted with a porcelain pen. This is the step I love the most – I submerge myself in creativity, forgetting the world around me.
I create my dish towels in my workshop. I select and cut the panels, mix my colors, and silkscreen the material. The last step is sewing them and affixing my label stamp.
Running my own creative business has taught me that I’m not a 9-5 kind of person. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that self-employment offers. I love working two jobs and switching back and forth between the professional challenges they present. Despite the stress that occurs due to irregular earnings, I truly love my work, each and every day.
I feel it is important to know where and how products I use are made. Whenever possible, I make sure that that my food, clothing and other articles of daily use come from the region where I live and that they have been produced on fair conditions. I support smaller businesses and instead of purchasing brand new items, I prefer buying second-hand.
Etsy offers me the opportunity of trying something out, building up a business without being put under pressure, and the simplicity of working from home. Without Etsy, I wouldn’t have been able to take the step of establishing my own independent label. Etsy made my wish of having my own product series possible.
A piece of me can be found in every single item I create. Each product must fulfill my own personal expectations to the extent that it makes it hard to even sell.
I believe that when somebody runs a shop and their products are made with devotion, commitment and joy, that itself automatically makes them unique. My shop reflects my personality; you’ll find my love of detail, my collector’s passion, my enthusiasm for styling and photography, and my joy of freehand drawing in everything I sell.
All photographs by Room for Emptiness.