Sotis Fillippides exhibited in Encounters in 2010 (the first Encounters Artists Open House) and one of his ceramic instalations is a permanent exhibit, on the kitchen wall of 12 Langdale Road. He writes: “I spent childhood summers in the family’s house beside the sea in Greece. The shapes and colours of pebbles and shells, and the textures of the rocks and driftwood left a deep imprint in my memory, and they can all be found in my latest work.”
From generous bowls to tall, tapering pots, each piece is a tribute to Sotis Fillippides’ love of texture. Expertly thrown, with their grainy exteriors in dark earthy shades and softly coloured contrasting interiors, at first glance these ceramics appear to be fashioned from a more solid material. Yet pick up any of these pieces and you will discover that they are feather-light and deceptively delicate.
Sotis’ commercial career began while he was still at college when, having approached Liberty, Sotis was given his first commission. ‘I was still producing coilwork at the time,’ he says, ‘long thin lengths of clay that are coiled round to make the object.’ At the end of the Liberty contract, he realised this type of work was too time-consuming and turned his hand to the wheel.
Sotis’ first commission using the wheel was for The Conran Shop and it was this contract that finally made him decide to settle in the UK. It also gave him the confidence to set up in business and purchase the small studio in Fulham where he worked for the past six years before moving to the OXO Tower.
Sotis often uses a clay from the home of pottery – Stoke-on-Trent – that is very rough and textured, with fine, stone-like sand particles, but highly malleable. This allows him to achieve his characteristic fine yet textured finish. He fires his pots at 1,000°C and, once they have cooled, you can feel the tiny stones over the entire surface.