For many buying a holiday house in the Peloponnese is an opportunity to find new energy, time to enjoy the sun and culture in Greece. For us it was during our car vacation on the Peloponnese 2015 when I and Elias decided: “Here is the place we want to be in!”. There are various reasons why we made this decision: the sun, the sea, the simplicity of life, human relationships and more.
I’m always curious about other people’s stories. This time I want to introduce to you a female ceramic artist from Norway who fell in love with the Mani and the Peloponnese, Idun Lisbet Storrud. Loooong journey!
From Norway and Danmark to Milea, the secret paradise in the Mani
Elias and I meet Idun at her pottery workshop in Milea, a beautiful Greek mountain village in Mani. Idun offers Scandinavian brewed coffee and Norwegian cakes “cinnamon shells” (kanelskal). We talk about the love of Greece and the passion for ceramic creation. We met one, or two weeks after the Corona curfew expired.
We found that things went quite well during the isolation period, everyone got a lot of time to think about life and maybe they discoverd something that would otherwise never been discovered? The most difficult thing is not to be able to shake hands or hug and it is lucky that the children and grandchildren are not close to us. So after the swedish “fika” I could ask my curious questions.
E: You were born in Norway, you studied art in Copenhagen and you have lived many years in Denmark. No Greek parents or relatives: how for God’s sake did you find the Mani?
Idun: Well, it was actually my Mother who “discovered” the Mani but I was first in the Messinia! I was a backpacker traveller when I was 19. We come to Messinia and the last destination before I went home was Kyparissia. It was magnificently beautiful and untouched. When I come home I tell to my Mother: you just must travel to Messinia! She did so and came to Agios Nikolaos. After one night there she decided to go higher up to the mountains. And she found Milea, the secret paradise! Soon she also bought a house here.
E: Your Mother was also an artist?
Idun: Both my father and my mother were ceramists. But she enjoyed much to work with watercolor paints. And this is here, in Milea, where she got inspiration and energy. I visited her often here and 2005 I bought my own house in Milea.
E: You have worked with pottery your entire adult life. Did you also create your art when you were in Greece?
Idun: Not from the beginning. I used to come here with my kids in the spring or fall. We hiked in the mountains, enjoyed the sun, the Greek culture and the feeling of being free. But when the youngest child moved away from home, I decided to move permanently to Peloponnesos and open a pottery workshop.
E: Is your art inspired by Greek pottery?
Idun: No, not special. Of course I am clearly influenced by pottery exhibitions in Greek museums. But I do not make “tourist ceramics” at all.
E: The word “ceramics” comes from the Greek keramikos (κεραμικος), meaning “pottery”, which in turn comes from keramos (κεραμος) meaning “potter’s clay”. But what is the difference between pottery and ceramic?
Idun: Pottery is more crafts, while ceramics is crafts and art. A potter knows all the techniques, and can reproduce any traditional or modern shape, while the ceramist must invent his or her own shapes, glazings and decorations.
E: You also work with a special art form: ceramic pictures. Can you help me describe this technique? Is this something you usually do with old pictures you want remember and preserve?
Idun: I used to like drawing and photographing , but did not find a good way to combine with my pottery. So I decided to make ceramic pictures, where I use the same decoration-techniques as for my pottery on ceramic pictures. The photos I use, are manipulated first in the computer, and afterwards manually, to take out the essence of the motif, as I want it.
E: You not live permanently in the Peloponnese?
Idun: All though I love it here, I soon have to go back to Denmark where I also have a house. My greek partner and I share our time between Denmark and Greece. We love the contrast between the two countries, and to get the best out of both, we spend most of the summer in Denmark, and most of the winter in Greece. The winter in Greece is wonderful and tranquil, and there are so many beautiful flowers in the early springtime here.
Elias and I took a walk with Idun in the beautiful village of Milea. We talked about the time in Milea were many more people lived. She showed us the house where it used to be an open cafe.
We also talked about that her profession requires a large dose of patience.. Something that everyone, not only the ceramists, should practice. It was a memorable afternoon for both Elias and me. Thank you Idun for your time and your story you wanted to share with us!
- For more information visit Idun webpage
- More from “Move to Greece storys”
- Rent the house or apartments in Messinia
- Buy in the Peloponnese and around Kalamata or Nafplio