Mar 13, 2019

Adopter stories: Interview with Thodoris Galigalidis

Thodoris Galigalidis is a Thessaloniki based ceramic artist and tutor. .ART talked to Thodoris about the biggest passion of his life and about the boundaries between art and craft.

Tell us a little about your creative path. Why did you choose artistic ceramics? 

Ceramics is the biggest passion in my life. I’ve started as a child. From my first days in the local School of arts I’ve been working with clay and making pottery. I started practicing different techniques including alternative ways of firing like raku and saggar. When you use saggar firing you get a pot with blushes and smoking grey areas. This is a practice of making pots using raw materials and then burnishing them without glaze. The saggar itself is a container used during the firing process to enclose or protect a ware inside a kiln.

Raku firing is an ancient Japanese technique. You remove wares from the kiln when it is still red and hot and place them in containers with combustible materials like paper which can give them a variety of colours. We also can put different creative ornaments on the pottery using wires.

Working with ceramics, with clay, engaging with all these objects I have a really unique feeling. This makes me a very happy person.

What do you feel while working?

You give and take all the time. It’s an exchange of energy. Making pottery is something like a meditation. You feel that you can make different wares and many of them and that they can be really beautiful. Despite all those years of work I am still passionate and excited about what I’m doing. I just cannot stop.

What’s the best thing about working with ceramics?

That this is a very practical way of presenting your ideas. When you get the result it’s something you cannot describe with words.

Is it more about art or about craft for you? Do you consider yourself an artist or an artisan?

Both. It could be about art and aesthetics, about making and finding out what is better for you to express your thoughts and feelings as well as about making some very practical and technical things. Some parts of work could definitely be seen as craft, some others can be viewed as art. If you have creative imagination along with the perfect technique of performance this can bring really amazing results.

Are your days full of inspiration or hard work?

Again, it’s important to combine both. Hard work makes you an experienced master of high class while inspiration can lead you to real art. Sometimes I am overloaded with inspiration, I can’t control it, but from time to time I feel empty and don’t know what to do. It depends on many things, on what is going on in your life at the moment.

 How do you start your day?

I am the person who wakes up happy every day. I feel blessed for that. 

How would you define your style? What is unique in your artworks?

I combine traditional Mediterranean traits and style which can be seen in the form and the colours with the Japanese technique raku. This combination is unique. This is my invention.

 Who or what made the most impact on you artistically?

Sculptures by Giacometti, ceramics by Peter Voulcos and Paul Soldner, studio potters Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.

What’s your most exciting experience to date?

I recently went to Australia, around Brisbane and surrounding areas, to work with aboriginal tribes and explore local techniques of pottery in their camp. It was a very beautiful and romantic place, the environment inspired me very much. I felt really excited there.

Fame, success are they important for you?

Certainly. But it’s important until I can give something to people. I am the kind of person who constantly wants to give and share.

Tell us about your website. Why did you choose to get one although you have very successful social media accounts? E.g., your Instagram is very popular.

It’s the domain that speaks for me. Something that I want to have by my side. I can collect all the works in a very useful and handy way in one place, where people can come and get the information about me, see what I make and buy it.

THE BLITZ

  • Person with the greater influence in your life (family, celebrity, dead or alive). They are two. My wife Thalia who is by my side every day and my tutor Argiroudis Dimitrios who fired my passion for ceramics.
  • And object you can’t live without. The first object I’ve made in the School of Arts about 30 years ago. I’ve made it on a pottery wheel, and it was really unique for that time. This is my favourite work and I am very attached to it.
  • A character trait you value most highly. The desire to give people what you know.
  • Your favorite book. “A Potter’s book” by Bernard Leach.
  • Favourite colourred.
  • You have a minute face to face with Salvador Dali. What would you say/do? I would say that I admire his art and his technique as well as his personality. I would like to listen to some interesting stories from him.
  • What’s your idea of happiness? I try to be happy every day. Happiness is when you wake up early in the morning and you feel that there is one more perfect day ahead of you.