Stunning Handmade Ceramics Made in Athens

Handmade ceramics have never been more popular and it’s easy to see why. Organic materials and perfectly imperfect finishes are at the forefront of décor and interior design- as people seek to reconnect with nature and themselves.

And there’s no denying Greece leads the way when it comes to ceramics, as this form of art has been a part of Greek culture since antiquity- with Ancient Greeks using ceramics to store oil, water and wine since the Bronze Age.

Led by brothers Efcharis and Nikos Paltoglou, the creators behind Homatino, this stunning studio in Athens goes beyond everyday ceramics. Featuring a wealth of knowledge and experience, thanks to their father Michael, who had a ceramics workshop in the 1970s and taught them from young- the brothers have now taken over creating bespoke art pieces that are simple yet stunning. Turning everyday items (think: candle holders, plates, mugs, vases and bowls) into masterpieces- each collection is carefully designed to be used as both dinnerware and décor.

Reminiscent of Ancient Greek artefacts, each item has its own unique character showcasing Efcharis and Nikos’ keen eye for detail and their age-old technique that includes some modern finishes.  

“Inspired by clay, a simple raw material, using traditional techniques of the past, however, influenced by the contemporary way of life, we mold by hand, ceramic molds and shapes which aim to be a part of our lives for the following years,” they explain.

“We are a workshop that got its name from the etymology of the word ‘homatino’ which means made of fine-grained earth (soil) or clay. We chose this name bearing in mind who we really are. A local workshop which chooses to remain true to tradition, crafting ceramic objects, modernizing, protecting and promoting the work of the family business, with respect,” they add.

As a child, Efcharios says he “felt the need to create things with my hands. I expressed this need through clay and from the first moment I felt an overwhelming attraction to this simple material, without knowing of course that it would eventually become my profession.”

Nikos says it was in his adulthood that his “restless nature in combination with my heightened sense for creativity changed pottery and ceramics into one of my most enjoyable interests. After travelling through various parts of Greece and on a search, professionally, in various occupations, ceramics and pottery are what eventually won me over.”

The pieces, which feature organic shapes made by hand – reflect the tones and textures of Greece’s beautiful landscape and rich history and if you are in Kalogreza, Athens, you can visit the brothers’ studio, where you will be able to have a tour and check out the tailor-made pieces up close.

“We approach ceramics in an ‘earthly way’, attempting to create a harmonious balance among form-texture-colour and functionalism, giving it a rawness along with an elegant finish. A basic value is for each piece of ceramic work to send out the message of exemplary design, quality, timelessness and for it to be a part of the daily routine and way of life of each individual.”

Homatino Ceramics

Eugenia Chandris’ Magic Cabinet Filled With Greek Treasures

With a love for her homeland, Eugenia Chandris, an executive in the hospitality industry, writer and co-founder of Huffington Greece, has created an innovative platform experience “A Magic Cabinet”, featuring a world of contemporary Greek treasures.

Imagine you had a magic cabinet filled with a recollection of childhood summers in Greece. All those little things that remind you of beautiful moments and entrancing scents, happy places and loved ones you spent time with. You could just open this painted cabinet and be transported to a sensory wonderland; reliving your carefree childhood and remembering the dreams you once had.

Every object in the Magic Cabinet has been carefully selected, tested and researched by Eugenia Chandris herself; and each piece is accompanied by a lovely description compiled from interviews with the producers who reveal how and where Mrs. Chandris discovered them. IN+SIGHTS GREECE caught up with Mrs. Chandris, to chat about the Magic Cabinet, which leads people to a world of eclectic and unique Greek items, and allows people from around the globe to make their own personal magic cabinet- filled with wonders from Greece.

How would you describe who you are today, in a nutshell?

I don’t fit into a nutshell but if I have to condense it, I’m an energetic and restless person who is inspired by new projects, I love to work and create and I am a person who is deeply in love with Greece, with its light, its sea, its ancient soul.

What drew you to create the Magic Cabinet?

The desire to fuse a commercial e-shop with an editorial platform, to be able to sell premium Greek items but also to elaborate on the story of their heritage.

If you opened the door of the Magic Cabinet and there was a place behind it, which would it be?

Actually, I have often thought about that. The cabinet would open up onto a delightfully green and lush garden, warm and bathed in the sunshine; where people could fly through the air of their inspiration and be able to live out what they dream of. There would be kindness and positive thinking. It would be a wonderful place.

Tell us about some of the most unique places you have discovered treasures for the Magic Cabinet.

I discovered Verikokos’ marble atelier inside the castle of Naxos, stumbling down a narrow street after I had been running outside in the sunshine. I couldn’t see my way. I discovered Lord Amber, Meli Baba, and Onoiamata in a rather dismal whole food supermarket in Thessaloniki, taken there by a guy who finds producers for me. Nikos Vladikas ambushed me in one of the aisles, thrusting his tsipouro at me saying “This is the finest”. He is right. I made my decisions by meeting producers at fairs, then during Covid, online. Not strange but surely magical.

What do you love most about your work?

It is always fresh and interesting; I get bored easily. With this site I never am.

Describe to us your usual daily routine. 

I make sure I sleep for eight hours, as I feel sleep is essential for good skin cell repair and for the soul. I exercise six days a week, again this is important to me. In the office, I brainstorm with my wonderful team, write the texts, look at the business side of what we are doing and spend time in the stock room, studying the mix of what we offer.

Lately, there is a preference for “made in Greece” products. How did that come about? Is the soil “fertile” for that?

Yes, the time has been right for a while now. Greece should be featured so much more than this. A Magic Cabinet is trying to change that.

Tell us about recent changes in your industry.

I also work in the hospitality industry at the hotels my family is involved in –The Athens Marriot, The Met Thessaloniki, and the Chios Chandris. Covid has dramatically changed the way hospitality operates and it’s also affected online shopping, so I would say that event has changed most. Hotels are recovering and online has strengthened.

One thing that doesn’t change, is human contact. Hospitality is all about that and even though we are an e-shop, we are very excited about our pop-up events and our corporate business where we address our clients directly. 

If Greece were a feeling, which would it be?

Unadulterated joy, soaring inspiration.

What can we expect from the Magic Cabinet in the near future? 

With an emphasis on design, objects for the home, new Greek creators, A Magic Cabinet will always open up to something exciting, and it will always be rare and valuable, in a “soul” sense. Through the Magic Cabinet you can also create your own custom-made hampers, selecting from a range of unique Greek products or pick one of the already mixed hampers like “I feel like mezze in a shot”, “I feel like a sample of Greece”, “I feel like breakfast in bed”, “I feel like veranda cocktails” among others.