How can it feel to live in the Peloponnese? According to Dimitra Colomvakou, mosaic artist from Sparta: life in the Peloponnese is simple, authentic and challenging. Elias and I can only agree with this perfect and short description. I heard about Dimitra from our mutual friend. Curious, I visited her website and was taken by her art and incredibly interested about her “why the Peloponnese” story.
Why did she move from Canada to the Peloponnese?? I kindly asked if I could ask some questions and, happy me, she said “yes”. All photos in this interview are taken by Mr Panos A. Papadolias, Lakonistas.gr . As soon as we and Dimitra decide the date for our visiting we will visit her workshop and I can write more about her art. I’m already looking forward to it! Below Dimitras Colomvakou about her “why the Peloponnese” story.
Life in the Peloponnese: simple, authentic, challenging
EK: Which year did you move from Canada?
DC: I moved from Canada in May 1997 and have been happily living in the Southern Peloponnese for 25 years.
EK: You decided to move from Canada when you were 30. You not only changed a country but also your professional career?
DC: I decided to move from Canada when I was 35. I studied law and was employed as a paralegal in Toronto law firms. My job was demanding and after many years, I yearned for peaceful simple living. This is when I decided to move to Greece to manage our family owned hotel business.
EK: Did your interest in mosaic develop after you moved to Greece or did you think about it in Canada as well?
DC: My interest in mosaics developed way before I moved to Greece. Growing up in Toronto, I was introduced to the world of mosaics from grade school. I realized when I moved to Sparta and visited the Aracheological Museum, I was inspired by an abandunce of ancient mosaics on display. Recently opened to the public , The House of Mosaics, presents two unique samples of ancient works that are truly breathtaking.
EK: You chose Sparta and the Peloponnese. What is your “why the Peloponnese” history?
DC: I chose Sparta because my father was born in the medieval city of Mystras and my mother was from Gythio, a beautiful seaside town. It was natural for me to go back to my roots.
EK: Do you remember your first memories of “living for real” in Greece?
DC: I had been spending my summer vacations in Greece since I was 11 years old and 25 years ago I decided to make Greece my new home. My memories of this beautiful country, are filled with bright blue skies, sunlight, green hues on mountainsides and the azure sea.
EK: You did not just move to the area. You also run a company here. Tell us more about your company.
DC: I decided to leave the family business and raise my daughter full time. I am a self taught mosaic artist. I researched techniques and started making mosaics in the ancient manner but I also work with different materials to create contemporary style mosaics. In 2017, I opened my company called MOSAIC ART GREECE which include large scale pebble mosaics, decorative mosaic art and jewellery. I accept commissions and most of my work is available online or at my studio in Sparta. I also give 3 hour workshops to anyone who is interested in learning the basics of this ancient art form. You are welcome to check my webpage, Facebook page or my Instagram.
EK: Both your parents are from Greece. What is your experience of Greek culture when it comes to meeting foreigners?
DC: I absolutely love meeting foreigners from all over the world and I am very enthusiastic in telling them my story. I also like to inform visitors not only of the well known tourist attractions but also places that are off the beaten path. They will experience the local culture and authentic greek cuisine. The Southern Peloponese offers many day trips to mountain trails, monasteries, archaeological sites and picturesque villages along with costal sea views.
EK: Can you sum up the first years of your living in the Peloponnese? Has the company developed as you thought?
DC: The first years of living in the Peloponnese were absolutely wonderful! It is simplier life here, more laid back and relaxing than that of working in a big city. My company has developed slowly because I chose to balance my time between raising my daughter and my work life. This year my daughter has gone abroad to study which leaves me with more time for mosaics….and…. fills the void from the absence of my daughter.
EK: Can you describe in just three words how and if your life has changed since you decided to move to Sparta?
DC: Simple, authentic, challenging.