Whenever I see a piece of ceramic I remember my earlier years in the village I grew up.
As children we were surrounded by mugs, plates, different recipients for cooking, jars, bowls, recipients for wine and even recipients for pickles, all made out of ceramic.
The ceramic was not produced in our village, but in the mountain areas, some 80 km away. The ceramists were simple people who made a living with this job.
They used to come down to the plain to exchange their ceramic pieces with cereals. The cereals could not be harvested in their regions, for a number of reasons. The ancient trading-off practice was still alive in my childhood years.
I remember those days when my parents and grandparents were waiting for carriers to open their carriages and reveal their pieces of art: all sorts of ceramics in local style and colours. The carriers used to pack their goods in carriages and used to wrap them in straws.
My grandparents and parents were always prepared to trade-off cereals with ceramics. Both parties knew well how to negotiate and get a good deal. The regular “price” was actually the volume of the recipients in cereals.
Even today I remember how excited we were to see what was hidden between the straws in the carriage. The ceramic decorations of the region were simple stripes and occasionally circles, in the colours of the mountains: dark, mild and lime green, ochre, terracotta, brown of all types, including the autumn palette.
Growing up and going to school I found more about the ceramic styles and why each region has got its own way of making it, in colours and decorative elements that reflected particular drawing and colouring patterns of the local cultures.
With the years, seeing a piece of ceramic brings me back to my earlier years in the village I grew up. In my mind they keep alive a particular context of those times.