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A landscape of glazes. The world of raw materials, heat, and alchemy. A dance of chemical reactions to 1240 degrees Celsius. There will never be another like this, it is impossible to recreate such happening. Each and every one is a surprise, a unique experiment; the fruit of many years of diligent glaze research, recording, mixing, and firing. Your eyes will travel on the surface and discover the metallic reflections, the colors, the microcosms of crystals forming within the glaze, but your hands will rejoice too in the plethora of textures, crevices, edges.
The “Glazescapes” are hung on the wall by the brass, laser-cut smiley faces that designer Melina Xenaki has designed for them. There are three attached to the back, so you can decide the orientation. There is no right way up or down when you are a microcosm.
Black Clay, Ceramics, glazed ceramic, Glazes
Ceramics and Stoneware
Black, Blue, Blue/Green, Bronze, Brown, Green, White
Inspired by the artefacts found in the region of the Mediterranean, from the Bronze Age ceramic ritualistic pots to the 20th century traditional embroideries, I destine my pieces to carry patterns, animals and plants, realizing a dialogue of earth, fire and living things of our Great Sea across millennia.
Trained to deliver high end craftsmanship in the lines of British studio pottery, my commitment to excel in technical skill is as strong as my desire to instill the narrative and beauty of the treasures of my cultural heritage into my work. From hand-building and throwing to slip-casting I use the making method most fitting to each project I take on. Understanding of glaze chemistry is as fundamental as making for me, experimenting to discover new extraordinary qualities, vibrant colours and intriguing textures that cover my ceramic surfaces and complement my forms.
Melina Xenaki is a London/Athens based ceramic artist. After completing her BA with first class in Ceramics & Glass (UCA, Farnham) the maker moved to London to complete her two year Masters at the Royal College of Art. Since her graduation she has been a full-time ceramic artist and teacher. She has collaborated with two big architecture practices, OOAK architects and Kokosalaki architecture, to create unique ceramic installations responding to the peculiarities of each site, and created exclusive collections for the shops of the British Museum and the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture.
The body of work in this collection consists of pieces by Greek designers of the mainland and the diaspora, or international professionals who live and work in Greece. As a common theme we tackle the elusive notion of “Greekness” and how this transpires through the work of seemingly diverse and distinct individuals. In our attempt to define “Greekness”, we aim to raise questions about how this plays out in the work presented.
How do Greek designers view their identity? Is it through their effort to decipher their heavy heritage? Is form important in order to achieve a predisposed classic elegance, or is a philosophical disposition towards shape more poignant? Could it be simply a resourcefulness and DIY ethic to make up for the absence of design infrastructure?
How do Greek designers based abroad deal with their background? Could it be that they simply ignore it in order to finally free themselves? Is there a certain amount of innovation necessary in order to channel it into the new environment?
Finally, how do foreign designers see their work influenced by their Greek surroundings? Is it the reference through the use of noble materials such as marble or the abundance of natural light that makes their work unquestionably Greek? Or could it be something else they were seeking when they decided to move here, something abstract like humour or drama? Could their arrival finally mean a departure from Greek heritage’s self-reference?
The pieces that we present might seem ill-matched, but they share an important core element. They are confident in their narrative of a personal story of identity, that is either at peace or against the Greek archetype. Through this communication, they all describe a culturally mature and vibrant scene that is finally extroverted and coming of age.
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