Painter, poet, playwright, set & costume designer, composer and – by the way – third generation sandal maker.
Pantelis Melissinos following the artistic steps of his father and grandfather before him, took over the family business which has been flourishing in defiance of turbulences such as a world war, a civil war, occupations or economic fluctuations, since 1920. Not only did he continue and expand the art and craft tradition of sandal making but, on the side, he is actively involved in multiple art projects, poetry and playwriting…. or is it the other way round?
A Greek outfit through and through, they still make the world famous sandals with quality calf leathers from Northern Greece that are tanned in the tanneries of Crete. Lovingly handmade to the last shoe-nail, inserted on sight only after the sandal is adjusted to the foot; Pantelis and his associate must make sure it fits perfectly.
The poet-sandal-maker shop is featuring among the top Athens landmark sites, and for good reason :
After 10 am the place is packed… people from all walks of life squeeze on every *hand painted* chair and wooden benches under heaps of sandals, handbags and jewellery… the warm smell, so distinctive of a leather shop, lingers heavily in the midday heat:
You can buy sandals of every type, size and colour all over Greece… the difference is in the craftsmanship and the knowledge that these are the only sandals in the world, hand made by a poet! Can’t get more original than that!
Ready or custom made to your own design. Every model is given a name; a pair of mighty ”Minoans” have been guiding my steps since, on a leisurely stroll towards the mellower season… until next year!
The Poet recites at:
2, Aghias Theklas St,
20-24 June 2013
Photos by Konstantinos Implikian