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Interview with Sofia Papakosta

Interview avec Sofia Papakosta - Mymosaa

Sofia Papakosta's daughter, Kalliopi, welcomes us to Athens and introduces us to her mother's work.

Kalliopi, a dapper thirty-something, very comfortable in the language of Shakespeare, ensures the manufacturing and marketing of Sofia Papakosta's jewelry creations. Very warm with her big blue eyes like the sea in her round face, Kalliopi, named after the muse of epic poetry (Greek mythology is never far away!) tells us the story of Sofia Papakosta's adventure.


After studying archeology, passionate about folk arts, Sofia Papakosta entered the Dora Stratou ballet of folk dance and performs in costume. Passionate about the traditions and ancient jewelry of Karpathos, she enjoys finding inspiration to create some for herself. Karpathos is an island in the Dodecanese Archipelago, located between Creta and Rhodes. Before becoming Greek in 1947, this island, a former ally of Sparta, experienced several influences: Roman then Byzantine, it suffered from Saracen invasions in the 8th century before finding itself under Ottoman and Italian domination. An island far from mainland Greece, Karpathos is known for its very ancient popular traditions which continue today.


How it all began

Sofia trains and embroiders with golden thread and semi-precious stones jewelry of Byzantine and ancient Greek influence that is cheerful and elegant. Encouraged by her relatives, she began to market her jewels.

Her jewelry is always handmade and she addresses retailers that she selects based on their image and ability to properly capture the spirit of her jewelry.


What was the first success?

One of my first successes was being included in the selection of jewelry sold at the refined Benaki Museum Shop in Athens.

Then collaborations have multiplied over the years with the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, the Greek Museum of Folk Arts, and the National Museum of Australia. Then I participated in international exhibitions such as “Beware of Greeks” in the European Parliament building in Brussels, “A Jewel Made in Greece” at the MAD Museum in New York, then in an exhibition on Greek folk costumes at the Museum of National History of Greece in Athens. I also then developed a collaboration with Fragonard in France.


How was your entry into the extremely refined Benaki Museum shop?

In the first years of development, I had the chance and the opportunity to meet in person Miss Despoina Geroulanou, Director of the Benaki Museum Shop, who fell in love with my work. She selected a few models and today they are the iconic jewelry of my brand.


How do you proceed with creating styles?

My ideas are born from my desires and inspirations from the shapes of the materials that I discover and the colors of the different stones and pearls. Then an exploration work with thread and needle begins and lasts until the result obtained corresponds to my aesthetic criteria.


How do you select your materials?

It depends on what catches my eye: it could be something vintage or modern. I generally focus on shapes and colors and how I can combine them with my personal gold thread embroidery technique.


What are your values?

Authenticity, originality, quality, timelessness.


Who is your role model as a woman who stans for your style?

There are a lot of pretty women but I consider my best role models would  be my three daughters 😊!


A favorite corner in Athens? in Mediterranean ?

My favorite area is the historic center of Athens, of course as well as the island of Karpathos which inspires me.


What are the next projects?

My overall project is to continue my work as a designer by exploring new jewelry possibilities with traditional materials.


Thank you for your work and for making us dream with your creations!


Efcharisto Sofia and Kalliopi.