ROOTS
JULY/AUGUST 2021

The journey begins at my island home, Crete, the place where my family comes from and where I spent the summers of my childhood. My father shared stories of how in the old days the locals would dig for clay in the olive groves. They layered the roofs of their houses with the mud which they then compressed in order to make water tight. I return to the same spot every summer for the last few years to repeat a ritual that fulfills my need for belonging and rootedness. I carry this wild clay back to my studio in Athens and process it into slip to decorate a collection of pots. The pots are fired in an electric kiln, at low temperature in order to remain porous for the smoke firing but strong enough to survive the trip back to the island. Going back to Crete to smoke fire my work is a symbolic ritual but also a practical choice as our small village is located up in the hills in the heart of nature and organic materials, are plenty and so easy to find. My smoke firing is carried out in a brick kiln filled with sawdust, dried leaves, fruit peels etc. The aim is to keep the fire smouldering for a number of hours in order to create a reduction environment which produces the smoke markings. The low temperate firing technique that allows the smoke to combine with the clay means that your pot is porous and should not be used to contain food or water. Direct strong light over a long period of time should be avoided.