An exclusive collection from the maker Melina Xenaki for the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture shop. Inspired by Bronze Age artefacts found in the region of the Mediterranean, her pots and sculptural pieces carry patterns, animals and plants, a dialogue of earth, fire and living things of our Great Sea across millennia.

“I use the making method I find most satisfying; hand-building, coiling, a direct way to make and alter a vessel form. I love working with the black clay for its plasticity, its contrast with the white crater glaze, their texture bringing in mind pots unearthed or treasures found shipwrecks. I crave to find myself in the silence and beauty of a space where goats, horses, birds, flowers, trees and cacti live, the dry golden planes of our lands. During a hike in Peloponnesus, I went into an olive grove where they had just burnt the cuttings of the trees; I collected the ash, carefully washed it and sieved it, then experimented making it into a glaze. I covered the surface of the clay with that wood ash glaze, then fired it to 1260 degrees, making those olive trees part of the pieces forever. Whenever I go away from the city I look out for soil, ash and rocks I can use in my practice, I pay attention to the rhythm and pattern of what surrounds me, wish I could distil all that beauty and take it with me.”

Melina Xenaki is a London/Athens based ceramic artist. Trained to deliver high end craftsmanship in the lines of British studio pottery, the maker draws inspiration from her rich Greek heritage and aims to create unique works that reflect her love for the raw and immediate way ancient artefacts of the Mediterranean carry patterns, animals and plants. 

Images © John Platanou