Xenia, Jewelry Designer of Marmarometry and shop owner of FAD in dreamy Naoussa on the Greek island of Paros, sat down with me on a breezy afternoon to chat about her art, inspiration and love of Greece. I had wandered into her shop and seen these gorgeous minimalist designs made of marble and was thrilled when I found out she was the artist herself. I was rushing off to more yoga teacher training but made a date to come back and chat with her on her creations and drool over the collection. I could't stop thinking about it. They were so simple. So gorgeous. So original. And not at all heavy like I thought they'd be.
Happy to see me and looking effortlessly chic, she directed us to a bistro table just outside the doorway of her shop. She popped across the alleyway and kindly ordered me an iced coffee from the nearby café. It felt as though we could’ve talked for hours. We made a quick personal connection, gushing about the special energy of the island and chatting as friends rather than acquaintances. Her laughter was contagious and presence memorable. I am thrilled to share her love for what she does.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I wanted to use an ancient Greek material; to create something original that reminded people of Greece. It has the biggest variety of marble in the world and I’ve always been inspired by Cycladic art – very geometric and minimalist in style. The Cycladic Idol in particular because it’s so minimal and abstract, almost modern. This is how the brand was born. Marmaro means marble in Greek. The way I work with it, the marble is so thin –light- but thick enough to be durable; ironic because everyone imagines it to be heavy.
It’s also great to have everyday inspiration in Paros. The nature, architecture and people are all amazing. There are so many artists and interesting people who come and go with such unique perspectives of everyday life. But minimalism – it’s eternal – it endures – like Ancient Greece.
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO MAKE JEWELRY?
I’d always had a hobby of making jewelry. It was difficult to find someone who would cut the pieces so small for me since it was always used for construction. I got a lot of resistance; people thought I was crazy. I was stubborn; determined to find a way. Finally, I found a woman who was willing to try it. She was young and we had a connection.
WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR A WOMAN IN GREECE TO BE AN ARTIST?
Difficult. It’s also difficult to be an entrepreneur because of the economic crisis. I haven’t left Greece because I want to fight the crisis. I could leave like everyone else and try elsewhere but I love Paros. I was lucky to be successful from the beginning. But, now, staying to fight for everyday life, it’s like punishment. I had a great opportunity with the Greek museums; the jewelry goes so well because of the minimalist design and use of marble. Unfortunately, the fees ate it all up. I love this shop. I miss it in the winter when I’m in Athens. We built it with our own hands. It becomes a part of you. I get emotional about it.
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU CREATE?
I call them my children and get so overexcited when someone loves my work. You share a connection with people from all over the world. It’s where I get my energy. When someone loves it – and buys it – especially when they can’t and save to do it – this is so meaningful to me. I get bored easily so I always want to make something new. Even when I’m busy with production, I’m eager to start new collections.
It’s where my heart is. I’m from Athens but always summered here as a child. I had a dream I wanted to end up here, in my small paradise. When the boat comes near the port – I take a deep breath and feel like I’m finally home. She’s my muse.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PAROS?
Her special energy. There is such a good vibe on this island.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
I don’t drink coffee. They all think I’m weird. A Greek who doesn’t drink coffee.
OK, So I may have actually gasped and sat back in my chair with a raised eyebrow for a moment when she answered this one.
But, it’s okay Xenia. We forgive you for not liking coffee.
Special thanks to Xenia for taking the time to share about her creative work. Truth be told I spent my whole three weeks in Naoussa agonizing over which piece I was going to choose for myself and got so busy at the end, I didn't have a spare moment to go back and get my own. Luckily, you can follow her collections on Instagram and connect with her to snag your own like I'll be doing. She ships anywhere, is reasonably priced and is super accommodating.
LINNY | FOUNDER & EDITOR