Ioannina: walking around the pedestrian streets of its old town, I love discovering local artists, who create with love and loads of passion jewellery and various other items.
Veroniki Nessi with her workshop, Pinelies, definitely stands out.
Located at Koletti street, a small pedestrian road in a very charming area, the workshop’s window showcases some of her beautiful creations making it impossible not to get inside.
Handmade, customized, made with love painted porcelains is what you will mainly find here. And you might also see the artist in action!
We met with Veroniki during the first days of 2018; she welcomed me in her workshop with a sincere smile and sparkling eyes and I just loved her positive, artistic aura. I wanted to know more about the artist who creates those lovely pieces of art so here is what we discussed:
- Would you suggest a song to hear while reading your interview?
Any Pink Martini song, I love them all!
- How would you introduce yourself in a paragraph?
My name is Veroniki. I am a girl who started painting in porcelain 15 years ago with passion, smile, patience and lots of love. Today, I am a mom to a sweet boy called George, and I keep painting with patience (oh yes, it is endless!), and even more passion and joy! I love practising yoga, baking sweets, listening to music and my goal for this summer is to attend as many concerts as I can!
- When did you open your workshop, “Pinelies”? Could you tell us a few words about your creations?
Pinelies, my small workshop, opened its doors in 2005. That’s where I paint porcelain household items, jewellery with gold and silver details, marriage and baptism bonbons, Christmas ornaments, Εaster decorations and candles and anything else you might think to ask for!
When I work on a porcelain item, I first draw the design on the paper and then I copy that on the porcelain with a special pencil. Afterwards, I start painting with colors and oils specifically made for this kind of material (they resemble a lot tempera paint). Once I finish painting, I let the item dry and then it goes in a ceramic oven for about 15 hours. When I take it out from the ceramic oven, the colors have been amalgamated in the porcelain and it can be used either as a household item (you can put them in the dishwasher without problem), as a decorative item or to be worn with love if it is a jewellery.
- As you told me, you work a lot on personal, customized orders. Which are the various items of art that you can create? Could you share with us a few of your favourite creations so far?
Customized orders are my absolute favorite to create. These are mainly gifts for newborns, marriage and baptism bonbons, and gifts for anniversaries, birthdays or for an important personal moment. Together with my customer, we let our fantasy flow and most of the times, we love the result.
A few favorites of mine are bonbons for Loukas – a gift from a dad for a mom and their newborn twins – a Christmas gift for his wife – my favourite Frida.
- Where do you draw inspiration?
I think I draw inspiration from everywhere. Every time it’s something different. Isn’t this magical?
- You also have some jewellery and some lovely paintings in your shop. Could you tell us a bit more about those?
At my workshop, I have a jewellery collection in silver and gold with precious stones by Greek designers but also from painters who create with different materials such as wood. They are all handpicked with love and based on my personal taste but at the same time with the certainty that my customers are going to love them.
- What is it that you love most about your art?
What I love most is the handmade element, the uniqueness, the beginning of the creation and the satisfied smile of the customer.
- You were born and raised in Ioannina. Which are your favorite parts and experiences around the city?
I love the city’s area by the lake (paralimnio). All year round! I love the view from Frontzo hill and the theater shows that are organized during summer up there. I love walking around the pedestrian streets of the city– which, thankfully, are many- with my boys and of course, one of my favorites is the new Silversmithing Museum inside the Castletown. Why? First of all, I feel as if I am at home. Apart from the fact that this museum showcases our cultural heritage, it is so beautifully structured that you feel as if you are diving into the past from the moment you step your foot inside! You learn about the history and the tradition of the Silversmithing craft in an easy and methodical yet modern way. Both the inside and outside space is kids friendly making it a great option for families. Finally, the museum hosts creations of the craftsman and artist Vassilis Nessis, who is my grandfather!
- What does travel mean to you? What was your favorite travel experience so far and why?
Travel…just thinking of the word brings images and smells in my mind! In general, I am a person who likes the everyday routine but travels are magical. When you travel, you become a better person. I was afraid of transatlantic trips, but if your destination is Cuba, you forget everything. It’s a dream destination where everything is so different. Pure. So many smiles, so many pure beauty.
I am so lucky to have lived that.
- The next trip you are currently planning is…
Colmar in Alsace, France. Just like a fairytale!
While we were on a summer holiday at Meganisi island, we met a couple who had just been to Colmar. They were so excited about this place and showed us photographs as well: that’s when we decided that this would be our next destination.
- Travelling with children: what is your opinion on this topic? Do you travel with your son?
I am jealous of those who do it. We really want to travel as a family of three abroad but our businesses are a small obstacle. But we will go to Colmar with our son, George. It’s a New Year’s resolution.
- How do you manage to keep the balance as a working mom?
I have no idea how I manage to keep the balance! My son is my priority though and this motivates me to be more efficient at my work. Don’t ask me how I do this; it’s automatic, like a click. The truth is that during holidays I miss him a lot because of my long working hours.
- Which book and/or movie would you recommend reading/watching to get inspired?
Book: “Τζονι κ Λούλου” by Vasia Tzanakari (Greek edition).
Movies: Midnight in Paris, La vie en rose, Frida , Chef by Jon Favreau.
- What is happiness for you?
When my son, George tells me “I love you so much, mom”.
My husband’s risotto.
Sunset at the sea and the intro of the song “Sweet child of mine”!
Next time you visit Ioannina, consider visiting this little workshop which is packed with beauty and love.
Pinelies by Veroniki Nessi
Koletti 13, Ioannina, Greece