Erato Kouloubi: A Hidden Treasure in the Heart of Athens
Jewelry designer Erato Kouloubi has produced hand crafted jewelry pieces for more than 19 years. Her creations are featured in selected stores, including the Benaki Museum and the ‘’Popeye Loves Olive’’ art space. Erato co-owns ‘’Popeye Love Olive,’’ a hidden arts treasure located in the heart of Athens. Erato shared some time with ‘‘POLITISMOS’’ to talk about her work, her passion for travel, Greece in crisis, and much more.
Tell us something about yourself, your occupation and how you reached this point.
In 1996, I started studying the art of jewelry at the MOCUME School in Athens, Greece. When I graduated, I went to London to attend jewelry seminars. There I worked in an art space together with other fashion and accessory designers. I stayed in London for two years and when I came back I started my own workshop. I attended accessory trade shows from 2005 to 2014. For the last three years, I have been making art-jewelry pieces and have also participated in festivals abroad.
As a designer, where do you derive your inspiration?
I derive my inspiration from life. I travel as much I can because this is the primary source of inspiration for me. Last year I felt I was lacking motivation, so I travelled to Morocco and the images I saw there positively influenced me to create new designs.
During these last few years, Greece has undergone an enormous economic and social crisis. Do you believe this situation has affected the arts?
I believe that crisis is a gift for our country. Because of this crisis, there is a large number of people who have lost their jobs and found employment and shelter within art. They also found a way out from their despair through art. For this reason, I see crisis in a positive way because art has prospered in our country.
Having your own business in Greece, how secure do you feel as far as the future is concerned?
I don’t think about the future, I prefer to live here and now, this is my way of seeing things. I think that when you are doing something you love you will be successful.
Name a negative and a positive result that has arisen out of the crisis?
One positive result of crisis is that people now work in groups while in the past they behaved more selfishly. And one negative result is that young people between the ages of 25-35 are leaving our country. These people could help develop our country and I feel it is detrimental that they are leaving.
What is your favorite place in Greece?
My favorite place in Greece is Donusa, a small island in Cyclades. It’s a scenic place with beautiful blue clear waters. For me, Donusa is heaven on earth! I’ve been there every summer for 13 years now.
If Greece was a jewel, what jewel would it be?
For me Greece is light. So it would be a luminous jewel with a light that shines inside it.
Which woman would you most like to see your jewelry worn by?
I would choose Marina Abramovic (world renowned performance artist) because I admire her very much as an artist. She also represents for me the model of a “Mediterranean dynamic woman” who I greatly admire.
Are you preparing a new exhibition in the near future?
I am leaving soon for Barcelona where I will take part in ‘’Joya Barcelona Art Jewelry Fair,’’ an international artistic jewelry exhibition, where I will present my new collection.
Where do you predict your career will be five years from now?
In five years, I hope that the art space ‘’Popeye Loves Olive’’ will be hosting “unconventional” jewelry exhibitions. That it will be a place people will come to and see different and pioneering concepts. Also, I would like to focus more on creating artistic pieces.