Some of you who remember our Park Slope shop may recognize Eleni's beautiful work as it used to be a great staple on our shelves. I was so excited to bring back Eleni's beautiful ceramics and make them available to the Sounds family via our website. We think it's important that you know where 'what you buy' is coming from...so take a look into Eleni's life and studio practice below :-)
Where do you create your work?
I’ve been in my studio for the past four years, it’s in Brooklyn, and I’m very proud of it. I wanted a space where I could have gatherings, events and classes. It feels like such a miracle that I’ve been able to have this space in my life. I stopped having classes and events due to covid, but got a few more studio mates in the meantime, and I love being there with them. Creative community has always been so important to me, and somehow it seems inevitable that when you’re working with clay, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a bunch of sassy ladies. It’s my comfort zone for sure.
What inspires your ceramics practice?
I’m very process oriented, and very tactile, so I truly enjoy just being goofy and playful with the material. I’m grateful that after working with clay for over 10 years, I still get a thrill from throwing it around and squishing it between my fingers. Making art for me has always been more about being present and playing with the materials, experimenting with colors and shapes. I also love the utilitarian aspect of ceramics, especially. Objects hold a lot of significance to me, and I get so much satisfaction from knowing people will use, touch, and get some happiness from my pieces on a daily basis. I’m also very inspired by the objects that I love in my life… Many things from my grandparents’ houses in particular.
Tell us about one object in your life that inspires you?
My favorite objects often serve as reminders. My friend has a brother who walks along the beach where he lives in Spain. He looks for rounded rocks and then carves faces or flowers into them as he goes on the beach. He carves a groove in them and wraps a wire around to make pendants. She showed me a few once, and I guess I couldn’t hide my jealousy. A few months later she brought me one, and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I wear it on a chain. For me, it reminds me of a time when a friend really knew me and knew what would bring me joy, and when I think about my work, I like thinking about what I can do with it to bring joy to whoever uses it. A lot of time that could be something silly or unexpected details. Knowing how the necklace was made is a big part of it for me too. I love the contemplative and unbothered image of a man carving rocks by the sea, purely for pleasure on the other side of the world. So it reminds me of the best reasons to make things, just to enjoy the time you spend doing it and hopefully make someone else happy too.
Guide us through a perfect day for your practice?
A perfect studio day would start at home for me, with some tea and time to draw/write in my sketchbook. Once I get to the studio, I’ll have my coffee, light some nice incense, and get right to work. In a perfect world, I would make some coil vases, and get to play with some nerikomi stuff for orders. I would walk to one of my favorite cafes for a little snack break. If it’s a perfect day, I’ll have the time and energy to work on something for fun, maybe a sculpture or a new idea, and one or two of my studio mates will show up and we’ll have some wine or beer and maybe go watch the sunset on the roof.
What's the part of your practice you dread the most?
Glazing… If you know, you know. I’m trying to find ways to make it more fun, doing more pattern painting lately, and layering, but it’s just generally not my jam, and it ALWAYS takes longer than you think. That’s why I use a lot of dyed clay in my work, so I can just use my trusty clear glaze and call it a day.
What is your creative aspiration for the next few months?
Over the next few months I’m hoping to make some larger more sculptural pieces. Though when I say sculptural, there’s a part of me that thinks they’ll end up being functional at stools or lights, since it seems hard for me to escape the urge to make my work functional.
How do you stay balanced, inspired, and nourished?
I think my practice itself is what keeps me balanced, inspired and nourished. Making things is how I experience the world, and connect with other people. My art practice gives me the space and time for introspection and motivation to learn and explore. But when I need a break, the best thing I can do is cook/eat some really good food with a good friend, or go on an adventure. I love aimless journeys, going in a direction and seeing what happens.