Alexandra Manousakis on Crete and her ceramics
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Alexandra Manousakis moved to New York City and studied Fine Arts at NYU. During her childhood summers in Chania, she was captivated by the Cretan lifestyle. Later she decided to leave a successful marketing career in Manhattan to take over the family winery in the village of Vatolakkos and grow it into one of the most reputable in Greece.
Alexandra’s journey shape both the concept and the design of her art. Honoring the ancient practice of ceramic art, she creates handmade design objects that blend her own background story and the culture clashes that she encountered in her contemporary Greek island life.
Alexandra talks exclusively to Domes Stories about her ceramic art and Crete, as well.
Why ceramics? What kind of beauty did you find in them?
Working with clay is of course a very grounding experience because you are working with pieces of earth. It is a beautiful surface to paint on and the shapes give a sort of dialogue to the marks painted on. The beauty in ceramics, for me, has more to do with the texture of the clay and the way the brush glides across the surface; it is not as obvious as when painting on canvas or paper. Making art that is functional and to be used on an everyday basis is also a very important aspect for me. Lastly, the fragility of ceramics add a whole aspect that makes each piece feel even more special.
What are your favorite places in Chania or Rethymno that you hope will not change over time?
I don’t believe that change is a bad thing- on the contrary- I believe that change indicates progress and that it should be welcomed with new ideas and new generations. That being said, I believe that change should embrace history and respect the environment. My favorite parts of Chania and Rethymno are the old, small streets that make up the historic old towns. I love to get lost in them and see the old architecture.
Is there a creative inspiration shelter in Crete to which you return at every opportunity?
I would actually say that Crete itself is that creative inspiration shelter. It’s the reason I moved here from New York in the first place. Chania is an incredibly inspiring town.