Chat With Inspiring Ceramicist Anna Karountzou

Creating extraordinary and interesting work, ceramicist Anna Karountzou is proving that this ancient craft deserves to be recognised as one of today’s most exciting art forms. 

Originating from Athens, Anna crafts refined ceramic vessels and other creations that feature a raw yet graceful aesthetic, drawing inspiration from ancient cultures and the natural world. 

With a background in conserving art and antiquities, she transitioned her focus from preserving to shaping and manipulating clay, driven by a burgeoning fascination with material science.

Employing traditional methods like coiling and pinching, her distinctive handcrafted pieces are imbued with a sense of place that resonates with Anna’s connections, paying tribute to the earth while embracing a contemporary sensibility.

We recently had a chat with Anna about her unique pieces, as well as her love of Santorini and travelling the world. 

Tell us a little about your background and training in ceramics.

I have always dabbled in art. As a child, I started drawing and ended up studying conservation of antiquities and works of art at the University of Athens, a profession I followed for several years. My studies and the knowledge I gained at school were great. Through conservation, you gain an excellent understanding of works of art but at the same time, you have no freedom to create. You follow the rules, ideologically and techniques of another artist. I enjoyed it but missed the fun of creating, which came after I started ceramics classes at the Museum of Modern Ceramics.

Then I studied glazing with one of the greatest living ceramicists, Menandros Papadopoulos, and that was when I broadened my horizons considerably. When I started I pretty much followed the work pattern of the conservator, which is set in absolute detail and symmetry. Years passed and I was finally freed from the strict rules. I allowed my hands to create irregular shapes and sizes of sculptures. Now, each object has its character and its essence. 

When did you start your brand workshop and what was the idea behind it?

During quarantine, alongside my job as a conservator, I began to work more intensely with ceramics. Somewhere along the way, I decided to find a space to work and store the now countless objects I had created. I set up shop at my grandfather’s warehouse in the Drosia area of Athens and devoted myself to it. For a year I worked Monday to Friday as a conservator and on weekends, I spent 12 hours working with clay. I was lost in creating, and had so much passion for it that I wasn’t tired. I couldn’t wait for the weekends to arrive. 

I then decided to give up my job as a conservator and concentrate on ceramics. My friends urged me to start an Instagram page and I received a flurry of messages from art venues to collaborate and participated in Milan Design Week, where I met another ceramicist with whom we collaborated and housed our creations in a common space in Kolonaki. My work was going surprisingly well and one collaboration led to another. The amount of work was huge, so I had to find my own space. During one of my walks in the area, I found this abandoned basement. I renovated it all by myself, and not only did it become my workshop but my second home.

What inspires your creations?

My memories and many moments of my life inspire my creations. My summers in Santorini have also marked me. Additionally, I am inspired by rebirth, and the fact that we can create something new from our “ashes”. I experiment a lot with the same materials and “rebirth” them.

How would you describe your pieces?

Free and formless. I don’t plan anything ahead of time. Through the creation process I break the boundaries, the rules. None of my creations are symmetrical, each object I create has its entity and character. I also like that my creations are aesthetically related to Ancient Greek culture and nature. I would describe my pieces as natural, with curves referencing the female body. I also like to capture the mark of time and for my pieces to look rustic and worn. I prefer the aesthetic of natural wear and tear. But I don’t do it consciously, I start creating and it just happens organically. Unconsciously I design objects that create a feeling of nostalgia.

Who are the pieces created for?

I never think of creating for a specific audience. I create things for myself first, to express something deeper and my nostalgia is reflected through my creations.

We have seen that you love to travel, tell us about the trip that has inspired you the most.

I’ve been fortunate to visit many places that have taken my breath away. For four years I worked as a restorer and lived like a nomad. Along with my team, we visited and maintained temples and monuments all over Greece, from the north to the south. We have preserved temples in remote villages in Thrace and Macedonia, to ancient tombs and Herod’s mansion in the Peloponnese. We stayed at each place for months, became friends with the locals and really discovered their beauty. 

I strongly believe that we live in a stunning country and every trip in Greece has been inspiring, allowing me to draw elements that I incorporate into my ceramics. Each community and city has its character and natural beauty – especially when it’s near a mountain or the sea. I will certainly remember the months I lived and worked in Chania, as Crete’s a gorgeous place to visit. And I also have to mention my most recent trip to Nepal, that touched me thanks to the many spiritual and genuine people I met.

What place in Greece inspires you the most?

Santorini, my mother’s island home. Especially Oia, which is where I spent all my childhood summers. Unfortunately, the Santorini of that time has nothing to do with that of today, but I have preserved all my lovely memories from the past. The volcano, the cliffs, the rocks, the beaches, the sea – this freedom we felt when we ran around the streets and beaches are all fond memories that will remain an inspiration for my creations. I have asked wine producers for ash from the vines in Santorini to create a unique glaze on some of my ceramics and I have also incorporated fragments of volcanic rock in others. Santorini is a part of me and the creations I produce.

With a workspace in the centre of Athens, tell us a few of your favourite places in the city.

My current workshop space is a spot where from the first moment I entered the semi-basement in the heart of Kolonaki, I felt an energy that this is where I’m meant to be. I love Kolonaki, especially around my workshop because it’s quiet, the streets are lined with trees, and we are close to the beautiful Dexameni Square, with an amazing panoramic view of the hills of Athens. At the same time, I also like areas that feature the character and style of an old-school Athens, such as the neighbourhood of Petralona, where I live. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

A: 13 Deinokratous St, Kolonaki

“Memories Steeped in Dream” Exhibition in Athens 

The exciting exhibition “Memories Steeped in Dream” which includes 90 engravings, ceramics and lithographs by eight prominent artists of the 19th and 20th centuries from the B & E Goulandris Foundation collection, highlights the significance of the multiple in modern and contemporary art. 

The exhibition

The Museum of the Vassilis & Elizas Goulandris Foundation presents a huge tribute to the fundamental role of multiples in modern and contemporary art. For this purpose, the periodic exhibition “Memories Steeped in Dream” exhibits about ninety lithographs, engravings and ceramics, collected from the Foundation Collection that bear the signatures of eight acclaimed 19th and 20th-century artists. Multiple masterpieces from legendary artists including Aristide Maillol (1861-1944), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Georges Braque (1882-1954), Joan Miró (1893-1983) and Balthus (1908-2001) are exhibited. The consolidated presentation of these works gives us the opportunity to “read” again their story through two perspectives.

Insights Greece - “Memories Steeped in Dream” Exhibition in Athens 

Multiple dimensions 

At first, we consider the carefully selected art pieces as a set of “Memories steeped in the dream”, according to the lyrical description of the Guatemalan author Miguel Ángel Asturias. This way we can analyse the advantages that these various techniques offered artists of the multiple. This includes: approaching different methods of creation and developing a different way of looking at the work of art; spreading their work wider and faster; and having their works co-exist with written texts by prose writers or poets. Additionally, other than exploring the world of engraving and ceramics, the exhibition further stresses the key role of many collaborators who were involved in editing the works, including Ambroise Vollard, Aimé, Marguerite and Adrien Maeght, Tériade, Fernand Mourlot and Suzanne Ramie.

In the second stage seeing each work separately, we enable ourselves to follow the path of their creation, emphasising at the same time the originality in relation to the rest of each artist’s output. 

Visitors of the exhibition will be able to discover hidden gems of contemporary art history such as the collections: Master of Design by Aristide Maillol, Twelve Lithographs by Lautrec, Circus by Léger, Hesiod’s Theogony, illustrated (in Greek) by Braque, Windswept heights of Emily Brontë, as Balthus imagined them. As for the famous artists Matisse, Picasso and Miró, through their exhibited works they prove once again the decisive role they played in the development of engraving and ceramics during the 20th century.

The essential “map” for the museum tour

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalog (in Greek and English), which has been compiled by the curator of the exhibition Maria Koutsomalli-Moreau and is published by the B&E Goulandris Foundation, that is edited by Mikri Arktos. It is enriched with a Glossary containing all the technical terms of engraving, which are necessary for a solid understanding of the methods used, as well as with biographical notes of the valuable collaborators who gave the artists the opportunity to excel in the art of the manifold. The interspersed testimonies of artists, gallery owners and craftsmen complete this tribute to an entire field of art, which unfortunately has not yet found the recognition it deserves.

The artists in the exhibition “Memories Stepped in Dream”

Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)LITHOGRAPHS

In 1948, four years after the death of Aristide Maillol, the French publishing house Flammarion published a scrapbook with drawings by the artist and a foreword by the author Jules Romain. Those works on paper, transferred to lithographs, give a wider audience the opportunity to discover a previously unknown side of the art of Maillol, who until that time was famous as a sculptor.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)TWELVE LITHOGRAPHS

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was involved throughout his life with lithography, a genre that offered him great freedom of expression. His dealers Maurice Joyant and Michel Nanzi, the last owners of Goupil & Cie, encouraged him a lot in this direction. Nevertheless, Lautrec’s work in the genre of lithography achieved real success after his death, mainly thanks to the exhibition organized by Marcel Guérin in 1910 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. 

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) – JAZZ

Matisse began to create works using cut coloured papers as early as 1930. But it was not until 1943 that this technique took on much greater dimensions, when Tériade, with whom he had already collaborated for Verve magazine, discovered his collages. At that time Matisse was living in the hills of Nice and the state of his health did not allow him to work except lying in bed most of the time. Tériade is so impressed by those cut-out figures from sheets of paper painted with gouache that he suggests Matisse create a “flower-book”, which will be a combination of a series of such compositions and handwritten text.


Picasso has always been known for his penchant for experimentation. No technique, no medium, no form of artistic expression was foreign to him. He painted, drew, sculpted, wrote, photographed, and made theater sets and ceramics. He also showed a great interest in engraving, learning all its possible techniques: engraving with a chisel, punta, aquatint, and lithography. The Vassilis & Elizas Goulandris Foundation has in its Collection two lithographs, a linocut, as well as a painted poster, which demonstrate Picasso’s unparalleled talent in this field.

Fernand Léger (1881-1955) – CIRCUS

Fernand Léger returned to Paris in 1946, after a six-year stay in New York. A little later, he was contacted by Tériade, who suggested that he create a scrapbook of lithographs that would illustrate a theme and a text of his own choosing. The painter chose to deal with the world of the circus and decided to write the text himself, which was decorated exclusively with original lithographs. He created 34 color and 29 black-and-white compositions for The Circus, which are inserted into a manuscript written in a thin and broad script, similar to that seen in Matisse’s Jazz. 

Georges Braque (1882-1954) – THEOLOGY

In 1932 the gallerist Ambroise Vollard wanted to celebrate Georges Braque’s fiftieth birthday in his own way. Known for his passion for artists’ books, he asked him to choose an anthology and illustrate it. Spontaneously, Braque suggested Hesiod’s Theogony, a work of the 7th century BC, which describes the creation of the universe and the origin of the gods. With this proposal, he satisfied a desire he had for a long time: to recall Greek mythology in his work and draw from its richness, thus showing his need for purity in the forms and universality of the subjects he works on.

Georges Braque (1882-1954) – LITHOGRAPHS

Georges Braque discovered the world of engraving in 1907 and lithography from the beginning of the 1920s. But only from the end of the 1930s did the latter become a real passion for him. First, he began a collaboration with the engraver Maurice Berdon, which proved very fruitful. The painter himself was involved in the process of printing and numbering, going so far as to change inks during the print. This explains the different colorations one observes from one sample to another. Then after the Second World War II, Braque continued his efforts with the support of Adrien Maeght and the experienced printers Maurice and Fernand Mourlot.


Joan Miró discovered printmaking in 1928, but it was not until 1947 that it took a dominant position in his life, thanks to his acquaintance with Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, as well as their son Adrien. For over three decades, Miró created in Maeght almost 1,800 original lithographs and engravings. So it is no coincidence that, shortly before his death, he acknowledged: “For me, engraving is a supreme means of expression. It was a means of liberation, expansion, discovery.”

Balthus (1908-2001) – WINDSWEPPED HEIGHTS

Between 1933 and 1935, Balthus, aged 25, chose to illustrate Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. He drew in pencil more than fifty studies, with which he described specific passages of the text. His fascination with this novel, which he had discovered at the age of 14, prompted him to parallel the story of Cathy and Heathcliff with his own relationship with his future wife Antoinette de Watteville, who at the time was engaged with another man. Some of the compositions inspired his lead paintings, such as Cathy’s Toilet and The Blanchard Children.

Insights Greece - “Memories Steeped in Dream” Exhibition in Athens 

Book your tour

We highly recommend that you book your own private tour in English if you want to learn more about the art of the multiple and the story of each individual artist through the institution’s website.

Make sure you take home…

If you wish to preserve your own memories of the exhibition as a beautiful “dream” we suggest you visit the museum shop on the ground floor. There you will find items dedicated to works of every collection of the foundation as well as catalogues dedicated to previous periodical exhibitions.

Basilis & Elise Goulandris Foundation exhibition “Memories Steeped in Dream”

Οpening hours: Μonday-Saturday 10am – 6pm

Entry: €10

Address: Eratosthenous 12, Athens 116 35 


Visit Information

Special thanks to Mrs. Katerina Vousoura, Head of Communications and Outreach at Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation and our tour guide Mr. Kostantinos Kosmas.

All Images Courtesy of B&E Goulandris Foundation

A Visit to the Alekos Fassianos Museum

Culture lovers, a trip to Athens wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the newly opened Alekos Fassianos Museum & Estate- bringing to light the work and legacy of this famous Greek artist. 

A neighbourhood full of treasures….

The area of Metaxourgio is described by many as one of the most vibrant and colourful neighbourhoods in Athens. While many walk around the streets and admire the beautiful modern designed buildings of the area, few know that in the past this place was a lively cultural centre, with fine neoclassical and 1950s residences. Nearby is the Fino’s studio, which was one of the biggest filmmaking companies in Greece back in the 60s, a catalyst in the region’s cultural flourishing. Then, in the corner a building makes you look up, so different from its neighbours- it’s beautiful and measured…

This tall, minimal architectural estate of urban aesthetics is the museum dedicated to the memorable Greek painter Alekos Fassianos- the beginning of his life and artistic activity.

Insights Greece - A Visit to the Alekos Fassianos Museum

The starting point…

At the foundations of what is today the Alekos Fassianos Museum, from the 1930s until the 1970s, was the paternal home of the artist. A small neoclassical property with an inner courtyard and a tiled roof. Growing up there, Fassianos’ memories of the vibrant neighbourhood – filled with theatres and cinemas – came to stamp his later artistic subject matter. Through his wanderings, Fassianos explored the city and came into direct contact with micro-trades of this Athenian neighbourhood- the itinerant craftsman and street sellers, professions represented in his works throughout his life. 

The idea of creating a museum is born…

In the 1970s, the neoclassical building was demolished to become, at the request of his mother Eleni, an apartment building for her children. Fassianos, with his widely known artistic activity, was living in Paris at the time and was dissatisfied with his mother’s decision to destroy his childhood memories. And in fact, the above episode was the springboard for Fassianos to collaborate with his friend and architect Kyriakos Krokos at the end of 1980, to remodel this building. During the renovation, they created on the ground floor a small exhibition space that would host his future works. The common aesthetic and philosophical principles, with which the painter and his architect friend created are evident in every corner of every floor.

The museum is under construction…

The architectural style that both Fassianos and Krokos wanted to develop was clean and minimal. The entire space is carefully enriched and shaped using a variety of materials and finishes (concrete, stone, mosaic, brick, plaster) with a colour palette of earthy greys, reds and ochres.

The architect wanted the structure of the building to be highlighted and the materials to be visible, while the main concern of the artist was to create a space that would create a harmonious dialogue with his works. Their artistic sensibility is evident in the structure of the space – with the different finishes and techniques including stonemasonry, the marble border that frames the mosaic floor, and the details such as the ornate spiral staircase, the mosaic floor, the painted figures on the walls using a fresco technique, the brass door handles – as well as the metal dragon hanging from the basement ceiling to hide cables in a creative way.

Insights Greece - A Visit to the Alekos Fassianos Museum

The exhibition…

The curation aims to introduce the scope of the work of Fassianos from 1956 until the last years of the artist’s life. In the exhibition, we find early works with an abstract mood of the 60s as well as his early years in Paris. Works influenced by Byzantine art, collages, mixed techniques, and invisible but also widely recognisable paintings with the most characteristic writing of the talented artist. 

The character of the neighbourhood unfolds through works that are represented through images and experiences that the artist acquired in the area where he grew up, and while wandering the streets of Athens. 

Following the path of the human soul, in the depths and underground space of the museum are works based on myths and heroes- that spoke from an early age to the heart and mind of the artist. Οn the ground floor are his works related to urban life. While the first floor is fully dedicated to the spirit and includes items from his relationship with intellectuals.

The purpose of the museum…

Beyond the paintings, the exhibition aims to highlight the multifaceted personality of the artist – presenting handmade objects, furniture and lighting – as well as texts he wrote, books he illustrated, and a rich archive of his involvement in set design and design costumes for comedies by Aristophanes and plays by Eugène Ionesco and Jean-Paul Sartre. The exhibition unfolds in a handmade tapestry where every detail is curated by Fassianos – from the knobs on the doors and the handles on the cabinets to the nails on the mirrors and the frescoes and mosaic floors. 

The Alekos Fassianos Museum is an important cultural space in Athens, in terms of both contemporary visual art and architecture. It is also one of the few museums in the world where the synergy between artist and architect supports the dialogue between the works and the space that houses them. 

The official opening of the museum…

Saturday the 21st of October 2023 will be the official day when the doors of this stunning museum open- and it will include all-day activities to introduce Fassianos to the public and share the artist’s story and his multifaceted work. It will be open all day with free entry to all. 

Official Opening Date: 21 October 2023 | Museum Entry: Free

Educational programs 

Τime:11-12 pm 12:30-13:45 pm

Entry: 5€

Βοοk: (viva)


Τime: 11:30-12:15 pm & 16:30-17:15 pm

Entry: Free 

Book: (viva)

Guided tours 

Time: 11:30-13:00 & 13:00-15:00

Entry: 10€

Βοok: (viva)

Time: 18:00-20:30 pm 

Insights Greece - A Visit to the Alekos Fassianos Museum

Μuseum Alekos Fassianos

Οpening hours: Wednesday-Friday 11 am-4 pm

Entry: 10€

Address: Neofytou Metaxa 15, Athens 104 39


Special thanks to Mrs. Katerina Mela, Communications & Development Coordinator at the Alekos Fassianos Museum for the visit and guided tour.

All Images Courtesy of Alekos Fassianos Estate | Paris Tavitian ©

Exploring Athens’ Art Scene With an Amazing Gallery Walk

Art lovers in Athens are invited to view hundreds of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and photography with two amazing evenings of art walks through the city- as the Athens Gallery Walk gives visitors the chance to explore a variety of Athenian galleries that feature a wide range of Greek and international art.

Exhibiting a number of art mediums, styles, and local artists, as well as artists from around the world; the 36 Athenian art galleries participating in this year’s event will be open to the public until 8 pm tonight, Thursday, May 12, and tomorrow Friday, May 13; giving visitors the chance to check out their new exhibitions and to meet many of the artists who will be there for an open dialogue. 

The Gallery Walk has been organised by the Athens Culture Net of the Municipality of Athens in collaboration with the Panhellenic Association of Art Galleries (PSAT) and Art Athina, and is part of This is Athens City Festival, which is taking place throughout the entire month of May. 

The event is free to the public and aims to promote the cultural potential of Athens and highlight the artistic creation that has contributed decisively in recent years to the evolution of the capital into a centre and modern culture. 

Athens’ Culture, Sports, and Youth Organization (OPANDA) will also participate, with exhibitions at five public buildings: the city’s Municipality Gallery, the Municipality Arts Center, the ‘Melina’ Cultural Center, and the foyer of the Olympia Theater.

Date: 12-13 May 2022

Admission: Free entry 

The following galleries are participating in the Gallery Walk:

1. – Aristofanous 20

2. Agathi Kartalos Art Gallery – Mithimnis 12 & Eptanisou

3. Alibi Gallery – Sarri 12

4. AlloucheBenias Gallery – Kanari 1

5. ALMA Contemporary Art Gallery – Ipsiladou 24

6. Argo Gallery – Neofitou Douka 5

7. Art Appel Gallery – Neofitou Vamva 5

8. ArtZone42 – Vasileos Konstadinou 42

9. ASTROLAVOS Art Galleries – Xanthipou 11

10. Athens Art Gallery – Glikonos 4

11. CHEAPART – Andrea Metaxa 25

12. CITRONNE Gallery – Patriarhou Ioakim 19, 4th floor

13. Crux Galerie – Sekeri 4

14. Ekfrasi-Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery – Valaoritou 9Α

15. Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery – Iraklitou 3

16. Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Dimofondos 30

17. Ersi Gallery – Kleomenous 4

18. Evripides Art Gallery – Iraklitou 10

19. Gallery 7 – Solonos 20

20. Gallery Genesis – Haritos 35

21. Ikastikos Κiklos – Akadimias 6

22. Ileana Tounta – Armatolon & Klefton 48

23. Kalfayan Gallery – Haritos 11

24. Peritechnon Karteris Art Gallery – Irodotou 5

25. Rebecca Camhi Gallery – Leonidou 9

26. Roma Gallery – Roma 5

27. Sianti Gallery – Vasileos Alexandrou 2

28. Gallery Skoufa – Skoufa 4

29. Technohoros Art Gallery – Lebesi 12

30. The Breeder – Iasonos 45

31. Zoumboulakis Galleries – Platia Kolonakiou 20

32. Athens Municipal Arts Center – Eleftherias Park

33. Athens Municipal Gallery (Building A)

34. Cultural Center ”Melina” Municipality of Athens – Iraklidon 66

35. Athens Municipal Gallery, Metaxourgio (Building B) Leonidou & Millerou

36. Olympia Municipal Music Theater ”Maria Kalas” – Akadimias 59

More details can be found here