by Caroline Frady
Vassiliki’s art is living. She differentiates space and place by highlighting the contrasts as well as the interconnectivity between the organic and the inorganic, the animate and the inanimate. A core part of Vassiliki’s inspiration comes from her daily walks, where she gathers objects that strike her. She tunes into what both the physical and metaphysical have to say. Vassiliki’s attention to the natural world is apparent in her work – it is her work. I’m fascinated by her ability to embody a spirit of openness, awareness, and a profound sensitivity to the spaces and the people that she encounters.
Vassiliki shared a favorite poem with me by CP Cavafy that has extensively influenced her art:
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
We must care for the Earth – it is better if it lasts for years. Don’t hurry the journey at all. I think about something that she said to me, “What is the point of process if you are not enjoying it?” Taking your time and caring for the Earth makes you unexpectedly rich.
We met in person for the first time at Romney Urban Garden to prepare for a Charleston Climate Coalition Earth Day art show. She brought a few of her recent works: a birds’ nest woven together with plastic bags, and plants encased and displayed on canvases of plastic bags. I loved the bags. Vassiliki said my response meant I was now a part of the piece. She included me in the process; she cared about what I thought and how I felt.
I go on daily walks now because of Vassiliki. I look for found objects, like her. When we hang out, we get to share the items that inspire us. We pick up pieces of colored, oddly shaped plastic or dirty glass bottles. Vassiliki’s curiosity makes me feel seen – I too, am constantly wondering!
For my birthday, Vassiliki gave me a gift of the elements: an oil lamp for the element of light, a lemon tree that she planted for me from the seed of a Trader Joe’s lemon for the element of earth, and her most prized found item, discovered during a creek sweep, for the element of water. She tells me that many people in her life have sought after this found item. I have never been more honored to receive a piece of “trash.”