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Athens-based ceramist, art and design lab Maru Meleniou creates pieces in both the fields of sculptural artworks in the form of stoneware objects and makes 'everyday' a ceremony in tableware that is anything but ordinary. With an academic background in applied art and design, Maru's ceramic legacy was a consequence of her need to visual her digital work as a graphic designer and animator, taking her ideas from 2D to 3D. So began her journey into the realms of tactile stoneware and pottery.
'The shift to ceramics came in a time when graphic design had started to become digitized. While searching for a more tactile expression, in an effort to realize a transition of my ideas from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional model, me and ceramic art finally met.'
A move to Japan ensued, which has been an ever-present influence in her work; this is where Maru also learned Bizen Ware's art; it has a history of more than 1,000 years, making it one of the oldest pottery-making techniques in Japan. It is made using either a mixture of two kinds of clays with different densities or rough clay that has a rich deep reddish-brown colour because of its high iron content — a trait found in tableware pottery today. Being immersed into Japan's culture, Maru was curious by their mindful detail, the fragility, function, form and expression found in the ordinary. This experience fostered Maru's creative ingenuity; it was an organic next step in her artistic approach. The fusion of western and Japonesque sensibility for design set the pathway to her parallel words: tableware, which is sought after by the gastro scene of provocative cuisine, and white stoneware artworks - sculptured, unusual vessels and ingenious conical pots that resemble relics from Athenian empires of past.
'My work is based on organic forms, earth colours and various textures. The small details, differences, imperfections and qualities mirror the honesty of the hand-building creative process.'
Working closely with chefs and local restaurant pioneers, Maru's tableware has become one of her calling cards – creating bespoke pieces that elevate the ordinary eating experience into something that makes you think, being an artistic element to the food. A coherent relationship.
With more than twenty years as a ceramic artist and designer, Maru's inspirational mindset continues to cross the lines of functionality, aesthetics and imagination in clay. Table dining becomes something meaningful, and 'conversation-worthy stoneware makes Maru Meleniou a hero for pottery enthusiasts, collectors and those who to own a piece of her the creative process.