Eating off the surface of art: fine pieces from More Than Porcelain
Berlin-born Monika Diamantopoulou is a ceramist based in Athens, where she creates and recycles some gorgeous porcelain pieces. She specialised in the Japanese technique “Raku” alongside Violette Adjiman in the north of France, and has received a lot of influence from her mother, who is in a similar field.
How did you get into ceramic and porcelain works?
Monika Diamantopoulou: Initially, my dream was to make jewellery, but back then that was not possible in Greece, so I decided to study ceramic art next to traditional ceramists who, unfortunately, do not exist anymore. After 20 years of work, I started producing my first porcelain jewellery and it didn’t take long for me to expand my expressional work to altering vintage porcelain tea sets.
When was the brand created, and what was the inspiration behind it?
More Than Porcelain was created in 2012 when I started redesigning vintage tea and coffee sets. My intention has been to save these wonderful old fine porcelain pieces and to give them new life by creating stories they can tell.
Are the designs and images all your own or are there multiple designers? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
What is your favourite era for design and why?
Today, as I love the recycling movement because anything is possible; art, old industrial materials and new ideas come together perfectly.
Would you say your work is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
To be honest I don’t know. My motifs are inspired by anything from Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins, to old anatomy drawings or bold quotes. I suppose the people that recognise my work are open-minded, love quotes and have a sense of humour.
You also create your own original piece with Mona Lina. Have you any plans to expand this area?
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
I could tell you about the pieces I have created for the Salone di Mobili in Italy.
As they should be made to be able to accompany big furniture, I decided to use very clear big motifs that could be recognised from far away and to create images that could be applied on two or more plates to create a group that tells a story.
After editing my images, I print them on decal sheets that I cover so they can then be applied on the desired pieces. I bake them at a high temperature in a ceramic kiln so that the plastic parts burn off and the images remain on the piece.
Where would you most like to see your work sold?
Definitely in museums, as I like to create special pieces inspired by their collections, on alternative shops and on the Internet, as I enjoy direct communication and making custom orders.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To have been able to take part twice in the international ceramic exhibition in Vallauris, Italy, having sold my works on “Taipei Fine Art” and “Loehr Keramik” museums and taking the third prize on the installation art competition to decorate the Greek railway stations.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d love to work with Gilbert and George, because they could help me develop and improve my work. I would also love to be able to collaborate with big porcelain factories like Rosenthal so that I could print on large-scale pieces.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
I would like that! But at the moment I have to do it all myself. I am the artist, the photographer, the writer, the accountant, the manager and the secretary.
How would you describe your personality, and is this reflected in your work?
I am honest, open-minded and communicative. I love exploring new areas, techniques and materials, recycling, like comedy, music and movies, clear lines, graffiti and I adore combining the new with the old.
What is your one fashion vice?
To work on too many designs at the same time, without seeing the final results for each one first.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
I never stop moving and creating new things. I would like to do more custom orders for individuals and for shops, to finally make a homepage and to make an exhibition with my collection of old chairs that I want to alter into night tables.
For further information on the collections visit Monika Diamantopoulou’s Etsy page here.