Sonja Heller

started early to search for her creative path. Eager to express her inner worlds in any way that was possible in the rural area she grew up, she joined her father making ceramics, creating with silk painting and wax batik technique. Her mother taught her how to crochet and knit. And with her granny she discussed designs for doll dresses and got her first introduction to a sewing machine. In school she learned how to sew properly on an old manual singer machine and the basics of embroidery.

After moving to Frankfurt/Main as a teenager she started to experiment with cutting and rearranging her clothes and exploring different looks and combinations. Her classmates made fun of her when she had trouble finding a costume for carnival as the only garment that felt “costume-like” to her was a business suit. In her early twenties she performed at the Schauraum Parties for which she created her own costumes. After changing her place of residence to Berlin she decided to become a costume designer. As preparation she passed a tailor internship of six months at the studio of garment engineer Regina Zießler and went to a portfolio course with painter Christopher Balzer.

Shortly after she went to an audition of the Europäisches Theaterinstitut e.V. and got accepted. So, she became an actress instead. She quickly realized that this path was not satisfying for her but she didn’t want to give up easily. Instead, she started to train in butoh dance and after some years of study she taught and danced in Brazil, Chile, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Switzerland and Sweden. For all her performances she designed and crafted her costumes. And as the years went by she had to admit to herself that the most enjoyable part of her work was in fact the sewing, cutting and gluing whilst preparing her props and costumes. And that she had lost the desire to perform on stage. So, she quit. And after some necessary time of reorientation, she began to draw, create collages and experiment with stop motion animation (for the latter she sometimes used the alias “Marlowe”). Since then she was fortunate to present her works in the foyer of Uferstudios Berlin, at Boddinale 2015 and to be part of the group exhibition “One can not be too careful” which was shown in 2018 at Lock In Gallery in Brighton, Club der polnischen Versager in Berlin and Рёбра Евы in St. Petersburg. In December of 2022 her work will be exhibited in the frame of the “Hybrid Butoh Vienna Art Festival”. Furthermore, she has now unpacked her sewing machine for good and deepened her knowledge of costume making in a bunch of courses. Since 2022 she works as a costume designer for the Bremer Tourneetheater. A major focus in her design is sustainability. So she tries to re-use and recycle old materials as well as to research for new eco materials as much as possible.