Spiro ceramics are inspired by the organic shapes of nature, with a simple and minimal design and the look of a “perfect imperfection”.
Made with the slab pottery technique, there are always unique variations in the shape and form of each object, which are enhanced by the creator’s personal design sense.
Born in Athens in 1977, Spyros Rokanas lives and works in Heraklion, Crete, producing ceramics in his own studio. He studied silverware and jewelry design, but his involvement with ceramics significantly shaped his artistic career.
“Every time I try to describe what I do, I always struggle to put myself between ceramics and craftsmanship. The only certainty is that what I am doing is just an extension of how I perceive the world in the given period of my life. Each of my creations correspond to my mind’s perfect harmony or disharmony. If an idea is good enough, the implementation will be automatically accomplished almost on its own. But in the most dissonant ideas, fortunately my instinct advices me to change plans, in order not to waste my time aimlessly.
I’m self-taught in a way. Except pottery tutorials and books related to pottery that I’ve never stopped reading, I’ve never attended ceramic lessons. My mother has played an important role. She started experimenting with ceramic art almost four decades ago and soon after she got her first ceramic fireplace, I joined her studio for over 10 years. She taught me a variety of techniques but most importantly she always gave me challenges, motivation and space for my own creations. She is also a brilliant potter with her own aesthetic and style.
When I was about 23 years old and having already worked in two goldsmith workshops, I realised that I could not deal with productive jewelry, for its lack of creative freedom. I pushed myself to the limits and made a symbolic transition from metallic to ceramic jewelry. Keeping in mind the fact that clay jewelry was basically non-functional, I soon decided to say a bittersweet goodbye to it. That was the end of my first true creative expression and the starting point of a new love, ceramics that still keep me excited!
In 2006, I made my first series of ceramic sculptures under the brand “zac”. In 2009 I tried for the first time stoneware clays and high temperature enamels. Searching for new construction techniques, I discovered the technique of slab pottery, an ancient technique of pre-Columbian culture. The slab pottery is a handmade manufacture of utensils without the use of a ceramic wheel or press. There was so much I had to learn about this technique. I discovered it slowly. Every time I tried something, the results led me to something new, and not always what I had imagined.
In 2014, I got a partner and together we create the new series of ceramic miniature houses, animals and more. At the same time we are marketing a small production of handmade utensils, bowls, mugs, cups, etc., always with the Slab pottery technique. Every year the demand gets bigger. Today, the orders amount is bigger than the products we can actually produce and our main concern is to keep the handmade identity that characterises our ceramics , as well as the enthusiasm and the need for new expression modes. We are happy to have our first wholesale customers already in New York, London and Germany through Etsy platform.”
Images © Yannis Sikianakis