Elena Vasilantonaki launched PilosClayArt in 2018, from her home studio in Athens, after attending pottery classes by ceramists Janet Lines for 6 years and Menandros Papadopoulos for 1 year. She creates small collections of unique, one of a kind vessels, using the coiling technique – a slow process of shaping clay that allows for a certain freedom while working and opens a dialogue of the creator with the piece.
“When someone touches my pots, I want him to feel the small crevices on the surface – to actually feel the clay. I wish to celebrate the beauty of irregularities and embrace the imperfections that define our own human nature and make us unique. My aim is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. My inspiration comes from the ancient ceramic forms and the Greek landscape. Growing up in Greece I was surrounded by pottery forms that have changed little since the ancient times. Functional storage jars, large pithoi decorating the yards and amphorae aged underwater rediscovered by the fishermen. I am not interested in making replicas of these artifacts. Instead, I hope to bring a contemporary feel to my work while using ancient techniques. Coil building, terra sigillata, glazes made from ashes, mark making with found materials, smoke firing are at the core of my work. My aim is to make contemporary vessels with an ancient feel.
Traveling the Greek islands, photographing the various rock formations, the red and black volcanic in Santorini, the bone white in Milos, salty and sandy rocks eroded by winds and waves, the dry red earth at the Cretan olive groves, I have created a visual dictionary which I draw upon when I create. I feel that collecting, gathering materials from the places I travel to, volcanic rocks, wild clay from the cliffs, ashes from olive branches burnt for family meals, minerals, sand from the beaches I swim, offers me a sense of connection and rootedness. I like to incorporate these materials into my work. This is my way to express emotions and thoughts.”