Hi, I’m Elena Vasilantonaki.
I am a Greek ceramicist living and working from my studio, in Athens, Greece.
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 fishermen. It was not however until I begun taking pottery classes, in 2011, that I started to really look at them. Close observation during museum visits, photographing and then drawing opened my eyes to the beauty of the ancient forms.
I spent my childhood and adolescent years constantly moving from city to city due to my father’s military job. Never rooted in one place for longer than two years, I feel this is the reason behind my everlasting pursuit of connection and rootedness. Clay as a material represents so much to me. Roots, ancestry, earth connection, grounding. Pottery is something small and manageable that connects to that idea of home.
I approach pottery as a journey to self discovery, a quest of simplicity and a healing process. The hand building and coiling techniques I use to create my pieces have been used to shape clay into vessels for many thousands of years. The process is very slow and it takes long to finish a piece but I find it meditative.The quiet hours of building, silent days in the studio are what I enjoy the most. I usually start building with a specific form in mind and a few quick sketches done in advance. However, the slow construction permits the development of a dialogue that influences the emerging shape. Moved and inspired by the works of the early people, I create pieces that question the idea of function and utility but above all the notion of time and progress.My aim is to create contemporary work with an ancient feel.