There are some magical places in Western Crete where artists congregate. These talented and exceptional Greek-born jewellers, musicians and film directors plus others, all draw their inspiration from ancient Greek philosophy and practice, a genre that began around 6th century BCE. Through their art they explore the questions of life often challenging traditional conventions of aesthetics. Some, influenced by Arabic cultures demonstrate how connected the world is and that daring to be different is essential for humanity.
In, Chania sometimes known as the cultural city of Crete, there are long-established communities of artists. Recently I met jewellery designer, Sifis Stavroulakis who has been working with gold and silver for 20 years. Sifis has a particular fascination with plants and flowers and on display in his atelier he has rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and broaches that take the form of the natural land and sea that surrounds him.
For me, Sifis dares to be different and this can be seen in the shape of his jewellery. A ring is more likely to be in the sweeping shape of a stamen of a flower that wraps around a finger. Imagine a Chrysanthemum flower with its intricate petals and where each petal made from gold forms a large cluster of bright yellow or two leaves from an olive tree, entwined and engraved with a gem stone to bring them together.
As someone who lives in the future, it refreshes my intellectual and cultural understanding when confronted with what is present. It reminds me to take the most natural and simple of things as a basis for how I think and run my business. Thank you Sifis for your gift.
By Maggie Semple