My name is Elena Vasilantonaki and I am a maker inspired by clay. I have always felt the need to express myself through painting, writing, and handcrafting but it was not until 2011 that I touched clay for the first time. I met a very talented ceramicist and charismatic teacher and she introduced me to clay. In her studio and with her guidance, I learned the various hand-building and decorating techniques and experimented with a number of clays. I quickly became obsessed with the medium, and in 2016 bought my own kiln and made a studio for myself at my home basement. I also completed a one-year seminar for ceramics technology in 2018.
Presently PilosShop is a one-woman operation, making sales online. What inspired me to start PilosShop was my love for the handmade and my need to make with clay. Making with clay is my way of getting to know and expressing myself.
Most of my pottery is made in my home studio, in Athens, Greece but I also travel to the beautiful island of Crete, to smoke fire some of my work. The island beaches, the olive tree hills, the cicada song, the smell of jasmine trigger a sense of belonging and are an endless source of inspiration. There, in the small Horio (village) up in the hills, I practice the primitive technique of smoke firing.
Smoke firing is an ancient, organic technique that utilizes the elements of fire, water, air, and earth to produce various markings on the ceramic pieces which are never the same twice. What intrigues me in smoke firing is to find out to what extend I can gain control over this technique and the endless possibilities of experimentation!
Mark making and striving for the visibility of the making process on clay is essential to me. My work begins with the need to express myself, to achieve communication, and to present my view of reality to others. The use of symbols and patterns depicts my view of my surroundings. Pattern as well as texture are essential to my work as I aim to evoke emotional responses. I also wish to celebrate the beauty of irregularities and embrace the imperfections that define our own human nature and make us unique.